Slain Journalist's Dad Blasts Facebook's Murder Videos

Alison Parker's parents file FTC complaint, appeal to Congress for removal of footage of her killing
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2021 6:36 AM CDT
Facebook Profits Off Murder Videos, Says Slain Journo's Dad
In this Jan. 29, 2016 file photo, Andy Parker and his wife, Barbara, listen as Virginia Gov. Terry McAulliffe announces a compromise on a set of gun bills at the Capitol in Richmond, Va.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The family of a journalist killed during a live news report in Virginia in 2015 is asking the Federal Trade Commission to take action against Facebook, which hosts footage of her murder. Videos of the killing of WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward regularly appear on Facebook and Instagram, which "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," according to a complaint filed Tuesday by the family and attorneys with the Georgetown Law Civil Rights Clinic, alleging deceptive trade practices, per the AP.

The FTC does not need to act on the complaint. But Parker's father, Andy Parker—who filed a FTC complaint against Google and YouTube last year—said he hoped its new head, Lina Khan, would consider it seriously. He also hopes to catch the attention of Congress. He said Tuesday that he agrees with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen that a provision, known as Section 230, granting internet companies liability protection for what users post, should be revised. "Hosting violent content and murder on social media is not free speech, it's savagery," he said Tuesday. He told CNN, "these companies know how to remove this content and they just won't do it because it makes them money."

Advocates for the Coalition for a Safer Web said they developed software to find the videos, but some remained up on Facebook just before the FTC complaint was filed. Parker said that showed Facebook was violating its own terms of service. "Facebook wants the public to self-police. They want you to report, they want me to report," Parker said. "And even when you do report it, they ignore you." Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, tells the AP that Facebook could be in the clear as it doesn’t promise that all content on the platform will meet its standards and acknowledges that its policing isn't perfect. (Parker previously spoke out in favor of gun control.)

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