Father of News Reporter Killed on Live TV Says Big Tech Needs to Police Videos of Murder, Violence
Andy Parker’s daughter Alison was killed on live television during a news report in 2015. Now, after the New Zealand shooting, Parker has a message for powerful tech platforms: Fix how you police violent videos and harassment.
“Google and these social media platforms, they have a responsibility to have some human decency,” Parker told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” Sunday.
For at least 17 minutes on Friday, a suspected terrorist streamed live video of a mass murder at a mosque in New Zealand. New Zealand police alerted Facebook to the livestream, and Facebook said it quickly removed the shooter’s account and the video. Facebook also said it was removing praise or support for the shooting “as soon as we’re aware.”
But the New Zealand shooting was not the first time live shootings have been uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet.
In 2015, Parker’s daughter Alison, a reporter at CBS affiliate WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia and photojournalist Adam Ward, were fatally shot by an ex-employee of the station during a live interview. The gunman later posted video of the shooting to his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Although Facebook and Twitter quickly took down videos of the shooting, conspiracy theorists have posted graphic videos of the murder on YouTube and claimed that Alison Parker was a crisis actor.
Sandy Hook and Parkland shooting victims’ families have also been targeted for harassment online.
Parker said that he and other families of mass shooting victims should not have to alert tech companies about hateful content and misinformation. Tech platforms “shouldn’t be putting the onus” on families, Parker said.
Parker, the author of “For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father’s Fight for Gun Safety,” said he believes that news organizations should not show the New Zealand shooter’s livestream and pushed back against arguments that airing them would help put the spotlight on white supremacists.
“There is a limit to free speech, just like you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a theater,” he said. “Showing murder on video —that shouldn’t be out there.”