WASHINGTON – The family of a slain journalist is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to take action against Facebook for failing to remove online footage of his shooting death.
Andy Parker said Tuesday that the company is violating its terms of service by hosting videos praising violence on Facebook and its sibling service Instagram.
His daughter, TV News reporter Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward were killed by a former co-worker in August 2015 while reporting for Virginia’s WDBJTV Roanoke. A complaint filed by Parker and his lawyers at the Georgetown Law Civil Rights Clinic on Tuesday said that despite assurances from higher authorities, it had surfaced repeatedly on Facebook and Instagram.
“The fact is that Facebook and Instagram have tasked victims and their families with policing graphic content – they need to recall their worst moments over and over again to stop the spread of these videos.”
The complaint states that Facebook is engaging in fraudulent commercial practices by violating its Terms of Service and misrepresenting the security of the platform, and how difficult it is for users to remove harmful and offensive content. Is.
Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Announcing the FTC’s complaint during a news conference, Andy Parker said he also wanted to see action from Congress. This echoed some calls from City Blower and former Facebook employee Frances Hagen last week, who accused the company of harming children, inciting political violence and spreading false information.
“Alison’s murder, shared on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, is just one of the serious ways in which we are weakening the fabric of our society,” Parker said.
Parker said he agrees with Hagen that new restrictions on long-standing legal reservations are needed for a speech to be posted by Congress on social media platforms.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have called for the removal of some of the reservations made by the 25-year-old law – known as Section 230 – that protects Internet companies from the obligation to post users. In his Senate testimony last week, Hagen called on lawmakers to remove reservations in cases where the dominant content powered by computer algorithms favors greater consumer involvement in public safety.
Parker previously worked with Georgetown Law Clinic to file a similar FTC complaint against Google and its YouTube service last year. The FTC declined to comment on the latest filing and generally did not say whether it had decided to investigate the complaint. Parker said he hoped President Lee Khan, the new head of the FTC appointed by President Joe Biden, would take complaints more seriously.
But Eric Goldman, a law professor at the University of Santa Clara and co-director of its high-tech law institute, said he saw problems in the case presented by Parker, accusing him of violating Facebook’s terms of service. Are He said the terms of service of social media platforms do not make any concrete promises that everything on their sites will meet the standards, and in fact include warnings that “we can’t do a better job.”
Goldman noted that the FTC was able to ignore complaints from NGOs. As a result, such complaints are “often just for show.”
In this case, Parker used the grievance redressal platform to appeal to Congress to stop the reservations of liability under section 230 for social media.
Peter Roemer-Friedman, a lawyer who has filed several lawsuits against Facebook, said Parker’s complaint contained fraudulent commercial practices and false promises of online security.
“The FTC has a wide range of powers to investigate and prosecute fraudulent practices,” said Romer Friedman, head of civil rights and class action practice at law firm Gupta Wessler in Washington.
Lawyers and attorneys who worked with Parker, who said he had never seen the video of his daughter’s murder, detailed Tuesday how far he had tried to take the video down, including on Facebook. Appeals by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer