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Family pushes for moderation of graphic content on social media after Utica teen's death

The family of 17-year-old murder victim Bianca Devins is asking for Congressional action to be taken up with social media providers.

Posted: Feb 13, 2020 5:48 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2020 6:09 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- Seventeen-year-old Bianca Devins was murdered by Brandon Clark. Her actual murder was posted by Clark on social media sites. The graphic images eventually made their way back to the Devins family. The family filed complaints with social media companies, but not everyone took the images down. Bianca Devins grandfather, Frank Williams, says the family wants something done.

"We believe that some of the social media have seen the harm they’ve done and want to make corrections, and others maybe are just motivated by financial gain, and really need to be brought to the table and forced to make changes," said Williams.

Images and comments still circulate on the internet, so the family turned to congress for help. Congressman Anthony Brindisi, D-22, met with social media executives looking for answers.

"The process for the Devins family to communicate an issue with them was very cumbersome. I think they’ve acknowledged that and also indicated that they’re trying to do more with technology, but also bring on more human content monitors to be able to deal directly with individuals," said Brindisi.

The Devins family would like to see the government pass legislation and policies that would regulate graphic content across all platforms.

"What we think needs to be done is greater monitoring of the images that are posted, and if they see or detect something that is even questionable, take it down immediately," Williams added.

Regulating the internet isn’t an easy task, but their request is being taken into consideration, and Congressman Brindisi says there has been measures put in place to police certain platforms.

"There has been instances where Congress has passed laws making social media platforms liable for certain kinds of content, and I think there is precedence for legislation to provide more oversight over graphic content as well," he said.

It may take time before any legislation is introduced, but the Devins family believes some action needs to be taken. Williams says "it’s extremely hard for the family of the images we have from the verbal descriptions that we’ve gotten. We don’t want anyone else to go through that pain."

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