aNdi Parker will never forget pacing through his Virginia home on the morning of August 26, 2015. Her daughter, Alison’s boyfriend – a dog and beloved reporter for Roanoke television station WDBJ – said shots had been fired where she was filming and that no one could capture the young journalist.
Mr. Parker repeatedly tried to contact his daughter on her cell phone – to no avail. Then he and his wife, Barbara, received the dreaded call: Alison was dead. she was murdered. She was only 24 years old.
His parents collapsed on the floor of their house.
Mr. Parker has since raised himself, however – forging through grief and driven to action by the murder of his daughter, shot in cold blood by a former co-worker. The retired headhunter has become a devoted advocate for gun control. And now he is taking on the biggest players of social media.
“This is the way I can respect that – through action,” she said. Granthshala.
Ms Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were ambushed on a gloomy day while interviewing a local official for a live broadcast about the 50th anniversary of a lake. A disgruntled former coworker, Wester Lee Flanagan II – who had been fired two years earlier for disruptive conduct – went to him, filmed the whole thing from his point of view, and shot and killed the reporter and Mr. Ward, 27.
He uploaded the footage to social media before the police gave him a car chase and ended his life. Those clips – taken with the killer’s phone showing his hand holding a gun and firing as he approached the trio – continue to circulate on platforms including Facebook and Instagram.
Mr Parker and his lawyers filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday, calling for action against Facebook and Instagram for failing to remove footage of the murder of Mr Parker’s daughter. The videos have been repeatedly flagged on the platform as problematic and glorifying violence – but they remain.
On Wednesday, the day after the FTC complaint was filed, specific links reported to Facebook remained available and viewed Granthshala.
The young reporter’s grieving father has already filed FTC complaints against Google and YouTube, for similarly failing to keep clips of the tragedy off their platforms.
“Unless someone holds them accountable, and this has to be Congress, this stuff will keep happening,” said Mr. Parker. Granthshala. “It pisses me off to the end… It hurts to know that these platforms are making money from my daughter’s murder.”
He continued: “It just bothers me that they have the ability to take stuff out but they won’t – because they make money from it. And to me, it’s unconscious … just knowing it’s there, it’s there.” Revives you as if this cloud is hanging over you.
“I’m trying to find the right metaphor here, but it’s something that just stays with you — and it bothers you. Unless they do something about it, it’ll always be out there. Almost like a chronic disease.”
Mr. Parker and his family understand not to watch or watch disturbing videos themselves; Other advocates do this for them and file complaints with the platforms.
One of them is Eric Feinberg, vice president of content moderation for the Coalition for a Safer Web. He sent several links to the murder to the Georgetown Law Civil Rights Clinic, which helped Mr Parker file a complaint on Tuesday.
Those links, specifically those reported to Facebook, continued and were seen on Wednesday. Granthshala — despite assurances from the tech giant that it is doing everything possible to remove violent footage of murders and similar crimes.
A Facebook spokesperson said, “These videos violate our policies and we are continuing to remove them from the platform as we have since this disturbing incident.” Granthshala. “We are constantly detecting and removing identical videos as they are uploaded.”
He didn’t immediately respond when asked about why the complaint-cited videos persisted a day after the FTC filing.
However, the Parker family and Mr. Feinberg had much more to say.
“It’s an ad-supported platform,” explained Mr. Feinberg Granthshala, adding: “Name any other media that advertisers will associate with.
“It can happen to anyone. Look what Andy goes through. He doesn’t care”.
According to Peter Romer-Friedman, an attorney who has brought multiple cases against Facebook, the FTC has “a broad authority to investigate and prosecute deceptive practices,” he told the AP.
But that doesn’t mean the FTC Is for inspection. Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, told the AP that the body has been able to legally ignore complaints filed by non-governmental parties — for this reason, many complaints are “often just for show.”
Mr. Parker, weary but determined, said Granthshala On Wednesday he hoped that the added pressure on Facebook – given the disastrous weekend revelations from whistleblower Frances Hogen – would prompt the company and other social media giants to be more cautious.
He said he was grateful to the whistleblower “validating everything I’ve maintained over the past five years — and that’s important.”
“We thought, ‘It’s time to do this’ – and maybe between that” [Haugen’s] Effort and mine, we’ll get the FTC’s attention” and “motivate Congress to do something,” he said.
“The reality is, they need to address it now – because Facebook and YouTube, for all the good they do… they are contributing to the disintegration of the fabric of society in this country and the world.
“if not now When?”
He said he was “not surprised” the videos were still up on Facebook and Instagram on Wednesday because “they’ve been lying for five years.”
He added: “The fact that he lied again… should get the attention of someone in Congress. It should get the attention of the FTC.”
However, through it all, the Parker family and their extended network want to ensure that their daughter and her legacy are not forgotten. Mr. Parker wrote a book. His wife started a foundation called Yuva Reporter. Her boyfriend, Chris Hurst – who first reported the shooting to Parker’s parents – now represents the 12th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. His cameraman Mr. Ward’s family has instituted scholarships in his name.
Mr. Parker has a picture of his daughter on his phone and is wearing an “Alison Forever” wristband.
“She’s always with me,” he said Granthshala.
“He inspired me,” said Mr. Parker, recounting the advocacy he has made since his daughter’s murder. “I feel like I’m following in my daughter’s footsteps.”
He added: “That was what you saw on TV. She could have come in and lighted a room.”
His efforts are not only about expanding gun control, pursuing better social media security, and remembering his daughter; They are also about helping other families survive the pain, he said.
“There’s a hole in our soul that will never heal… you can never really get rid of it; it’s a sadness that will always be there.”
That’s why his labor to curb gun availability and violent content on social media is “trying to save other kids, families, from the kind of devastation that Barbara and I went through.”
He said that removing material like murder clips would go a long way in doing so.
“We want people to remember Alison for the way she lived, not the way she died,” he said Granthshala.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Facebook