Bianca Devins, a seventeen-year-old was murdered in Utica, New York on Sunday morning. Her image with her throat, cut was posted on Brandon Clark’s account, but removed shortly after. However, the gory image had been copied and shared by many other users linked to his account before the image was reported to Instagram.
Instagram is struggling to remove images of the body but has encountered difficulty as with the case of the tragic event that left many people dead in Zealand. On that occasion, the killer live-streamed his shooting as he fired at people at two mosques who had gone to pray. Facebook was backlashed for not taking immediate action to pull down the live-streamed video and traces of the footage even after the original video was taken down.
Facebook said it had removed 1.2 million copies within the first 24 hours and blocked another 300, 000, yet there were still traces of the footage because users had shared over and over, making it difficult for the artificial intelligence to detect the shared video footage.
Many Instagram users dropped comments on the alleged murderer’s post that had the image, urging his followers to view the images on their profile. Apparently, they had met on Instagram two months back and had attended a concert together the previous evening but had a disagreement on their way back.
The police said that Brandon Clark had called the emergency services and informed them that he was going to harm himself after making some “incriminating statements.”
Brandon Clark’s Instagram account has been taken down and the company says it’s working with the authority to investigate the matter. Facebook says it’s employing a combination of technology and reports from users to take down every account that attempts to spread the images.
“We are taking every measure to remove this content from our platforms. We don’t want people seeing content that violates our policies. Our goal is to take action as soon as possible-there is always room for improvement, a spokesman for Facebook said.”
These kinds of tragedies suggest that social networks still have a long way to go with the advanced automated tools they develop in trying to keep their platforms safe. Nevertheless, the regulators cannot be patient forever.