Issues in Technology: Facebook Responds to Live Video of Murder

By Joshua Steier,
Technology & Innovation Writer

Even in the age of growing technology, criminals that publicize their crimes are not novel. The infamous Zodiac Killer was known to send cryptic messages to police, in order to incite fear and chaos. In understanding the psychology of criminals, it is generally accepted that criminals publicize their crimes mainly to challenge or taunt authorities. For instance, Steve Stephens murdered seemingly random people and posted it on Facebook. Although, the true intention is unclear and will be unknown, since he committed suicide recently.  A GoFundMe page received donations around the time of the murders. Steve Stephens claimed he committed the acts due to his former girlfriend, whose name is Joy Lane. Steve Stephens can be cited as being “kind and loving towards Joy Lane’s children”. It is also believed that he just suddenly changed, perhaps due to the ending of his relationship with Joy Lane.

Additionally, Facebook is under some scrutiny, because the post was up for several hours. The post was reported about two hours after it was publicized on Facebook. Zuckerberg essentially stated that on one hand, this incident is dreadful and algorithms need to be created to quickly remove this kind of material, but on the other hand, they do want witnesses to a crime to be able to publicize it on Facebook to increase awareness of that particular crime. Therefore, this duality creates a dilemma for Facebook, should the algorithms be implemented?

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 print edition.

Contact Joshua at


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