Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the “Facebook Killer” tragedy at the beginning of his company’s annual developer’s conference on Tuesday morning.
“We have a full roadmap of products to help build groups and community, help build a more informed society, help keep our communities safe — and we have a lot more to do here,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re reminded of this this week by the tragedy in Cleveland. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr., and we have a lot of work and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.”
A Cleveland man named Steve Stephens used the social media platform Sunday to post graphic video of himself murdering Godwin Sr., along with a Facebook Live stream where he described killing over a dozen people.
Just before Facebook’s conference kicked off, Pennsylvania State Police reported Tuesday it found Stephens in Erie County, Pa., on Tuesday morning. Following a brief pursuit, he killed himself without being taken into custody.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) April 18, 2017
Stephens’ videos and posts related to the incident were removed from Facebook two hours after they were uploaded. The incident highlights Facebook’s awkward position when it comes to detecting, censoring and removing graphic content on its platform. Some activists have claimed Facebook has unfairly removed evidence of police violence against residents, while others are upset that it took the site so long to take down a video clearly showing a violent crime.
Facebook posted a response to the incident on its blog Monday afternoon, penned by VP of Global Operations Justin Osofsky. The post said the company had been too slow to respond to Stephens’ videos and posts, particularly the video of the murder, and that it is working to find ways to make reporting and flagging content more effective.
“We disabled the suspect’s account within 23 minutes of receiving the first report about the murder video, and two hours after receiving a report of any kind,” Osofsky wrote. “But we know we need to do better.”