In from Presente.org
“Who’s outside right now?”
Korryn Gaines: “What are they trying to do?”
Her five year old son: “Kill us.”1
Korryn was killed by the police shortly after this conversation with her son was broadcasted on Instagram. Facebook silenced Korryn by taking down her videos because the police didn’t like them.
For months Korryn Gaines documented police harassing her on Instagram. She had to teach her five year old to record police stops to protect himself. Then on August 1, Korryn was shot and killed by a SWAT team meant to serve a basic warrant, as her son sat on her lap.2
What was the police justification? The same old story—the police felt afraid for their lives, so why shouldn’t they take away Korryn’s life? After her killing, the police asked Facebook to take down all of the evidence of police brutality that Korryn had so carefully documented. And, Facebook complied without a fight.
Facebook’s actions and words don’t line up. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said: “What we really want is to enable people to share what they want.” Just last month, the company hung a massive #BlackLivesMatter banner on its campus, discussing how heartbreaking the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were.3 And yet, by taking down Korryn’s videos, Facebook allows the police to perpetuate the myth that Black women are violent and deserve to be shot. Tell Facebook that words are not enough, actions count. In the past, Facebook has buckled to public pressure, and they will listen if enough of us speak up.4
Facebook’s censorship affects all of us. The Latinx community recently lost 14-year old Jesse James Romero to the police.5 Just in 2016, 94 Latinx people have been killed by the police.6 Facebook’s videos are powerful tools to document police brutality and misconduct. We need all the tools we can to end the epidemic of police violence against people of color.
Facebook has already created a law enforcement portal, which allows police to access user data for investigation purposes. This portal, however, has no guidelines allowing Facebook to take down user data based on police requests.7 And yet, in 2015 alone, Facebook received 855 emergency requests by the police to take down content on user’s pages, AND complied with 73% of them.8 By shielding police misbehavior and cutting people off from crucial support networks in the midst of police encounters. Facebook is standing against some of the best things social media has given us.
Thank you for all you do and ¡adelante!
– Matt, Favianna, Oscar, Erick, and the Presente.org team.
P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.
1. “Korryn Gaines Full Instagram Videos From Traffic Stop & Standoff.” Heavy.com. August 2, 2016.
2. “Korryn Gaines, killed by police in standoff, posted parts of encounter on social media.” The Washington Post. August 2, 2016.
3. “Facebook just put up a huge ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign at its headquarters.” Fusion. July 8, 2016.
4. “Some Privacy, Please? Facebook, Under Pressure, Gets the Message.” The New York Times. May 22, 2015.
5. “Family of 14-year-old boy shot by LAPD calls for release of body cam footage.” Los Angeles Times. August 12, 2016.
6. “Why aren’t more people talking about Latinos killed by police?” PBS. July 14, 2016.
7. “Facebook removes potential evidence of police brutality too readily, activists say.” The Intercept. August 8, 2016.
8. “Facebook Says Emergency Procedures In Place For Account Takedowns.” Buzzfeed News. August 11, 2016.