HOW FACEBOOK CENSORSHIP ACTIVELY HIDES EVIDENCE OF POLICE BRUTALITY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

HOW FACEBOOK CENSORSHIP ACTIVELY HIDES EVIDENCE OF POLICE BRUTALITY

hen Facebook acted at the behest of Baltimore County police last week by abruptly deleting Korryn Gaines’ social media accounts amid an ongoing standoff between authorities and the 23-year-old, did the private corporation become an agent of the State? If it did, far more precipitously, did the social media giant impinge on Gaines’ constitutional rights as a chilling new manifestation of subjective government-sanctioned censorship?
During what became a five-hour standoff, Gaines posted a number of videos documenting her prolonged encounter with a heavily-armed Baltimore SWAT team — summoned to the scene after officers learned the woman had a firearm. In one video uploaded to Instagram, which Facebook owns, Gaines speaks with her five-year-old son, who sits on the floor wearing red pajamas.

“Who’s outside?” she asks him.

“The police,” he softly responds.

“What are they trying to do?”

“They trying to kill us,” the child says, not realizing the accuracy in his innocent answer.

Not long afterward, the child would be shot in the cheek and Gaines mortally wounded by the police in military gear outside the door.

But the conclusion of that standoff, as well as the time directly prior to police firing their weapons, would not make it onto social media, thanks to Facebook’s compliance with law enforcement requests to delete Gaines’ Facebook and Instagram accounts. Officers, unsurprisingly, were not equipped with body cameras to document their actions and potentially hold them accountable.

Controversy over the corporation’s choice to comply with authorities — who employed a little-known “law enforcement portal” feature to request the takedown of Gaines’ accounts — grows hotter by the day as activists and advocates skewer Facebook for its frighteningly broad censorship powers.

Rather than standing as an albeit tellingly typical incident of fatal use of force by police, the fatal shooting of Korryn Gaines has forever transformed discussions about censorship and the role of social media in the police accountability movement.

On August 1, officers arrived at the apartment in an attempt to serve separate warrants for Gaines and her boyfriend, Kareem Kiean Courtney, announcing themselves as police. Though no one answered their knock at the door, officers claimed to have heard a cough inside, and persisted for ten minutes, according to court documents cited by the Baltimore Sun.

Ultimately, authorities contacted the landlord for a key, but were unable to gain entry due to a chain lock. Officers could see a woman sitting on the floor and asked her to come to the door. When she refused, one cop “kicked the door forcing the door open,” while another entered and found the woman, later identified as Gaines, who then leveled a shotgun in their direction.

One officer then left to summon backup, and a standoff ensued.

As SWAT-reinforced law enforcement peered through the door, they also kept an eye on Gaines’ social media activity — and when they observed commenters encouraging the woman not to comply with their orders, asked Facebook to deactivate her accounts “in order to preserve the integrity of the negotiation process,” according to Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson, as he told the press the following day.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Social media will always take the side of the police and various other state and Federal enforcement agencies so as not to potentially get shut down, and lose a ton of business.

Comments

SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA