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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg After Cleveland Shooting Video Controversy: ‘We Have a Lot More to Do’

Variety logo Variety 4/18/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged Tuesday that the company has to do more to not only filter out violent videos, but also do its part from preventing violence altogether. “We have a lot more to do here,” Zuckerberg said. “We are reminded of this week by the tragedy in Cleveland.”

Zuckerberg expressed condolences for the victims of the Cleveland shooting, and continued: “We will keep doing all of what we can to keep tragedies like this from happening.” He said that a big focus going forward for Facebook would increasingly work on strengthening communities and civic engagement.

Zuckerberg made the comments during his opening keynote address at Facebook’s F8 developer conference Tuesday in San Jose, Calif.

The Facebook chief was responding to the recent incident during which the site hosted the video recording of a murder for around two hours before taking it down. Murder suspect Steve Stephens had filmed himself killing retiree Robert Godwin Sr. in Cleveland, and uploaded a video of the act to his Facebook feed this past weekend. He also used Facebook Live for a brief broadcast to talk about the killing. On Tuesday, news broke that Stephens had been found dead in Pennsylvania after a police pursuit.

Earlier this week, Facebook responded to the incident by saying that it didn’t allow “this kind of content” on its platform. The company has been relying on reports from its users to flag content violations, and then reviews flagged content manually. It said this week that it deactivated the suspect’s account less than two hours after it first received such a report, but there’s no word on how many people saw the video of the killing before it got taken down.

There have been suggestions that Facebook could eventually use artificial intelligence to expedite its review process. However, it’s unlikely that Facebook would institute any kind of advance screening before allowing users to publish content due to the sheer amount of video uploaded to the service every day. Moreover, monitoring by human moderators is all but impossible for live streaming services like Facebook Live.

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