WASHINGTON (AP) — The family of a slain journalist is asking the Federal Trade Commission to take action against Facebook for failing to remove online footage of her shooting death.
Andy Parker says the company is violating its own terms of service in hosting videos on Facebook and its sibling service Instagram that glorify violence.
His daughter, TV news reporter Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward were killed by a former co-worker while reporting for Roanoke, Virginia’s WDBJ-TV in August 2015. Video footage of the shooting — some of which was taken by the gunman — repeatedly resurfaces on Facebook and Instagram despite assurances from top executives that it will be removed, says a complaint being filed Tuesday by Parker and attorneys with the Georgetown Law Civil Rights Clinic.
“The reality is that Facebook and Instagram put the onus on victims and their families to do the policing of graphic content — requiring them to relive their worst moments over and over to curb the proliferation of these videos,” says the complaint.
The complaint says Facebook is engaging in deceptive trade practices by violating its own terms of service and misrepresenting the safety of the platform and how hard it is for users to get harmful content removed.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Andy Parker said during a press conference announcing the FTC complaint that he also wants to see action from Congress, echoing some of the calls made last week by whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, who has accused the company of harming children, inciting political violence and fueling misinformation.
Parker said he agreed with Haugen on the need to strip away some of the protections granted by a 25-year-old law — generally known as “Section 230” — that shields internet companies from liability for what users post.
He previously worked with the Georgetown law clinic to file a similar FTC complaint against Google and its YouTube service. The FTC doesn’t typically disclose whether or not it has decided to investigate a complaint.
O’Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island.