Facebook just set a dangerous precedent.
Facebook, at the request of police, deactivated the social media accounts of Korryn Gaines, a 23-year old black woman shot to death by police in Maryland, United States two weeks ago. She was broadcasting the standoff that led to the injury of her 5 year-old son and her death.
In recent years, social media and shareable video have been instrumental in helping build awareness about the ongoing epidemic of police violence, especially against black communities in the United States and ongoing racial tensions in Europe.
But if Facebook censors this critical tool at the behest of the police, that could all change. That’s why we need Facebook to explain its actions and stop this dangerous precedent immediately.
With the introduction of Facebook live video last April, the social media giant will increasingly be in control one of the most powerful tools used to make police misconduct visible. Just last month, the Facebook live stream of Philando Castile, a black man shot by police sparked protests across the United States.
That’s why Facebook’s decision to censor Korryn Gaines’ social media accounts at the request of the police is so concerning. If Facebook simply complies with police requests to suspend broadcasts and accounts, it will be shielding police misbehavior from the public -- not to mention cutting people off from crucial support networks in the midst of police encounters.
Luckily, we have a plan to change this. Mark Zuckerberg has already gone to great lengths to declare his and his company's support for the Movement for Black Lives. He’s made public statements about the need to address systemic racism and hung a massive “Black Lives Matter” sign outside Facebook’s headquarters in California.
If we pile on the pressure, we could force Mark Zuckerberg to go beyond words to action -- and make Facebook changes its policy. Our pressure is already working. Over 60,000 SumOfUs members in the United States and Canada have signed our petition, and our campaign is making headlines across the planet.
Tell Facebook to explain its actions and stop this precedent of censoring user accounts at the request of the police.
SumOfUs has been fighting for free speech and freedom of information as long as we have been fighting corporate power. Our work for Net Neutrality has kept the Internet open and accessible to dissenting voices and helped preserve the free exchange of information and ideas.
If Mark Zuckerberg really cares about racial justice, he’ll take action and stop Facebook’s censorship of crucial video and broadcasting now.