By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
After a series of rapes, murders, and violent and racist beatings streamed live, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Father Michael Pfleger, and others, called for a 30-day moratorium on Facebook’s live streaming.
Holding a press conference in front of Facebook’s offices, at 191 N. Wacker, Boykin was joined by representatives of education, law enforcement, medicine and political organizations.
In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Boykin asked for a 30-day moratorium on the Facebook Live streaming option, and for an emergency button to be provided to Facebook fans that would block violent and criminal videos and posts.
“I appreciate when Facebook puts out statements of sympathy when somebody has been raped, or shot or killed on Facebook Live, but sympathy is not good enough. We need corporate action and corporate responsibility,” said Pfleger.
Saying there is a lot of violence in neighborhoods “that is sparked and birthed off of social media and put on Facebook. Right now, if I do Facebook Live and behind me is Stevie Wonder’s song playing, they will immediately shut it down because I don’t have property rights to play that song….”
“If we have property rights and song protections, why don’t we have human rights protection” asked Pfleger. “If 14 or 15 year olds are on Facebook Live wielding guns around, which is illegal, why is that not immediately shut down,” Pfleger asked again.
Jackson, who is calling for a meeting with Zuckerberg, said Facebook should not be a “platform” for murder. “This killing is a manipulative use of this social media venue. We’re prepared to go to Silicon Valley to meet with Mark Zuckerberg to talk about a plan to stop the violence and killings” on Facebook. Jackson called the Facebook murders “traumatizing.”
Agreeing with Pfleger’s comments, Jackson, who called Zuckerberg, said if Facebook honors record rights, “human rights must be supreme. Our issue is not with Facebook but its technology.”
They made their remarks during a press conference held outside of the Facebook headquarters. “We have seen too many instances of live stream videos or posts involving rapes, murders, suicides and vicious attacks, said Boykin. “All too often parents are unaware of these incidents until someone calls them that their child is lying in a pool of blood and it is posted live on Facebook,” said Boykin.
Research shows that exposure to violence begets violence and that children are especially vulnerable to the influence of observing the actions of others. It is known that even when children can distinguish between fantasy and reality, usually by age 8, observing violence through TV, movies and video games makes them more aggressive and reduces empathy and positive social behaviors like cooperation and resolving conflicts without violence.
Some sociologists refer to the Facebook Live crimes as “digital terrorism and hate.”
Boykin said it is time for Facebook to be more pro-active, especially after the Easter killing of 74-year-old Robert Goodwin in Cleveland, Ohio by Steve Stephens, who later took his own life.
Boykin referred to other live stream crimes like the toddler and his uncle shot in the head live streamed on Facebook, the gang rape of a 15-year-old girl, and other vicious attacks.
Facebook officials have apologized for the violence viewed via live stream but have yet to address the question of controlling these posts.