“If your company agrees to censor people's accounts at the request of police — thereby allowing the police to control what the public sees on Facebook — then it is part of the problem,” a group of civil rights movements states their disappointment in Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook has recently come under fire for his unpleasant involvement in the Korryn Gaines’ case. The multi-billion dollar company owned by Zuckerberg shut down the account of Korryn Gaines’ upon request by the Baltimore Police Department. A lot of organizations have called on the young C.E.O to explain his action.
Among the groups was the coalition of 41 civil rights and consumer advocacy groups who requested the company to clearly come out on its position when it comes to working with law enforcement to censor data and video. Zuckerberg was further asked to create a policy that is transparent and at the same time, protects the civil rights of people.
In their letter to Facebook, the group admonished the social media giants to be steadfast in their operations; they stated, “In light of these recent events, now is a crucial moment to demonstrate that Facebook as an institution does not silence individuals at the request of the police.”
However, Facebook has confirmed to shutting down the account of Gaines earlier this month upon the request of the police. The spokeswoman for the company also acknowledged receipt of the letter and stated that it was under review.
Korryn Gaines was shot dead by a police officer on Aug. 1st at her residence. The officer had come to arrest her for not appearing in court following a previous traffic offense she committed. According to the police, Gaines pointed a gun at the officer which made him also shot her. In the process, the 5-year-old son of Gaines was hit in the face by a bullet.
Gaines made a video recording of her interaction with the officer and posted it on Facebook. In the letter, the group reminded the company that the social network platform has become one of the best means to share information, educate and raise awareness. It stated in its letter, “Increasingly, this platform isn’t just a place where news is shared within social networks, but a platform where news is broken,” they wrote. “If your company agrees to censor people’s accounts at the request of police — thereby allowing the police to control what the public sees on Facebook — then it is part of the problem.”
From what had transpired in previous cases of police brutality against Black people, it is obvious that the police hide the video evidence when it incriminates them. Moreover, we have seen cases when body cameras have been turned off by the police while on duty.
For this reason, we need social networks such Facebook to be free and fair in their dealings. We demand the release of Korryn Gaines’ account.
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