Lately, there has been a disturbing trend of people committing unspeakable acts while broadcasting live on Facebook. Facebook introduced its live-streaming video service a year ago, and since then there have been several cases of people broadcasting deaths and other violent acts to the network.
The social networking site has made changes to block violent videos, but its founder Mark Zuckerberg recently addressed the issue, saying the company will be looking into additional changes in its "reporting flows" to allow users to more easily flag violent content. According to Forbes, Facebook is also updating its artificial intelligence to automatically block objectional content.
From murders to suicides to abuse here are some of the most unsettling Facebook Live Videos so far this year.
1. Man shoots random retiree on street
On Easter Sunday, a Cleveland man shot and killed a 74-year-old man and posted a video of the killing to Facebook. Suspect Steve Stephens also admitted to murder during his Facebook Live post.In the recording, he drove, got out of his car and shot Robert Godwin, Sr. Authorities said that Stephens posted several Facebook Live videos bragging that he’d killed at least a dozen other people. Rambling videos he shared showed Stephens saying he “was out of options” and that wanted to kill as many innocent people as possible. According to the report, he partly blames everything on problems with his ex-girlfriend. In the Facebook video, Stephens told Godwin a woman’s name and said, “She’s the reason that this is about to happen to you.” Godwin seemed confused and did not recognize the name. Stephens used to work as a mentor for Cleveland teens. But lately, he’s been struggling with gambling debts and relationship issues according to police.
2. Group tortures developmentally-disabled man
In January, four men and women in Chicago live-streamed an attack on a young developmentally-disabled man, according to Fortune. The victim was bound, gagged, and cut with a knife. At one point, the video stream had more than 16,000 viewers. Many of the Facebook viewers interacted with the attackers while they were abusing the boy. According to a number of reports, the attackers responded to Facebook comments on camera. According to a Fox affilate, the victim was repeatedly kicked and hit and his scalp is cut. He was is held at knife point and told to curse Donald Trump. The group also forced the man to drink water from a toilet. The young man later escaped, and the four were arrested by police.
3. Group of boys sexually assault teen
Just last month, several teenage boys in Chicago live-streamed the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl using Facebook, according to Forbes. According to police, at one point more than 40 people were watching the attack. But no one called 911 or contacted the authorities.The mother of the victim approached police after an unrelated news conference, according to Fortune, and showed them images of her daughter being assaulted by five or six young men. The Chicago Tribune has reported that two boys have been arrested in connection with the assault.
4. 14-year-old girl kills herself after mom allegedly egged her on
In January, a 14-year-old broadcasted her suicide on Facebook Live. According to the New York Post, her mother is accused of taunting her daughter in the moments before her death. Naika Venant used a scarf to hang herself in her foster home and livestreamed it on Facebook. According to the report, some viewers tried to talk the teen out of suicide. But, others apparently egged her on over the course of two hours.
“There were many other individuals urging her to take her own life, calling her vile names and claiming the situation was either ‘fake’ or ‘all an act,’” according to the 20-page report released by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Among those individuals was Venant’s mother Gina Caze, also known as Gina Alexis. The teen spent a total of 28 months in foster care during an eight-year span and stayed in 14 different foster homes within a 16-month period, according to the report. She apparently suffered from poor familial environments and maltreatment. DCF acknowledged that Naika endured “great trauma” throughout her life.
5. 33-year-old aspiring actor shot himself in a car on a Los Angeles street
Frederick Jay Bowdy shot himself in the head in a car on a Los Angeles street after threatening to commit suicide on Facebook Live. According to the New York Daily News, concerned family members contacted the Los Angeles Police Department telling them he was threatening to take his own life. Officers tracked Bowdy down to a car parked on a street near the North Hollywood Arts District. Police believe that he shot himself as officers were approaching his vehicle. One Facebook user who saw the livestream said in a comment that it made him cry, according to the report. In prior videos posted on his Facebook page, Bowdy had talked about his acting career and being a father of six kids. He also discussed overcoming the knee injuries that cut his professional basketball dreams short. A law enforcement source said Bowdy had a recent prior arrest for a "domestic disturbance" and was arrested last on suspicion of sexual assault. The Texas-born Bowdy worked a handful of film and television roles including as the lead actor in 2016's "Prepper," an independent movie about a suburban high school teacher struggling with societal collapse.
6. 12-year-old hangs self from tree
Katelyn Nicole Davis posted a 42-minute video claiming that she had been sexually and physically abused by a relative, according to The New York Daily News. In the video she said that didn't "deserve to live." The video ended in the worst way possible, with Davis hanging herself from a tree in the front yard of her Georgia home.
7. Man streams final moment before falling to his death
This month, Brooklyn resident Jamel Chandler broadcast his last moments on Facebook Live. He asked his audience to tune as he faced arrest. According to the New York Times, the police went to his apartment building to arrest Chandler for robbing a cab driver. In the video, the 21-year-old said he was scared that the authorities were at his door. “The cops is at the door right now looking for me, tune in,” he said. “I’m scared.” He threatened to jump and told his viewers: “If you don’t want me to jump, let me know.” According to the police, Chandler made a rope of knotted bedsheets and tried to flee climbing down that. When one of the knots came undone, he fell from his 11th floor apartment and died.
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