On Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed critics and offered condolences to the family of Robert Godwin Sr. during his F8 conference, a meeting of software developers. The young billionaire came under fire for allowing the horrific video of a live murder to remain on his website for more than 2 hours.
On Easter Sunday, Steve Stephens recorded his random shooting of 74 year-old Godwin in Cleveland on Facebook Live. He blamed it on his gambling debts and a breakup with his girlfriend.
The killer claimed to have killed up to 15 people in another video. However, police have not been able to confirm any of the alleged murders.
Since the Godwin shooting was uploaded, a debate has begun over the responsibility of social media. A downside to social networking, critics argue, is that it provides an instant audience for murderers, terrorists and other hardened criminals. Through it, mentally unstable individuals get the attention they seek.
In a video, Zuckerberg openly admitted that Robert Godwin Sr.’s death reminded them that the company “has a lot of work to do” especially in video uploading and reporting.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr…and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening,” Zuckerberg said.
Justin Osofsky, vice president of Facebook’s Global Operations department, said in a statement released on Monday, “It was a horrific crime — one that has no place on Facebook, and goes against our policies and everything we stand for.” He said the company is exploring ways to improve reporting flows and speed up review time.
This is not the first time a serious crime has been posted on Facebook. In January, four black people in Chicago were accused of attacking an 18-year-old disabled white man and broadcasting the assault on the service while making anti-white racial taunts. A month later, the suspects pleaded not guilty.