Facebook says it will remove any posts that celebrate the recent shooting in Atlanta or support the suspected shooter. Eight people were killed in the attack. Seven of the victims of the shooting were women and six were of Asian descent.
The social network has designated the shooting to be a “violating event,” a classification that it’s previously used for the US Capitol riots in January this year and the killing of two people during Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha in August 2020.
This classification is part of Facebook’s expanded policies on Dangerous Individuals and Organizations. The social network noted last August that it wanted to address movements “that, while not directly organizing violence, have celebrated violent acts.” That means removing content related to movements that “have demonstrated significant risks to public safety but do not meet the rigorous criteria to be designated as a dangerous organization and banned from having any presence on our platform.”
As is common with Facebook moderation, it’s not clear exactly what criteria the company is applying. A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge it would remove content that praises, supports, or represents the shooting or the suspect, but did not offer further details.
Facebook also said that it had found and removed an Instagram account it believes was linked to the alleged shooter, but noted that this account had been inactive for some time. The company has also confirmed that a widely-circulated image, purporting to be a Facebook post from the shooter, is a fake.
The social network said it would temporarily stop new accounts being registered on Facebook and Instagram using the same name as the suspected shooter, presumably to limit the creation of new hoaxes or misinformation. Facebook says it’s working with law enforcement to help their investigations into the shooting.