The social media channel are helping police in criminal investigations
On Sunday, a woman was gang raped in an apartment in Uppsala (70 kilometres north of Stockholm) where her suspected attackers, three men aged 18, 20 and 24, streamed the assault live in a private Facebook group. This comes out during a time where university rape culture is on the rise, too.
Facebook started offering this live-streaming feature at the end of 2015 and it’s since captured a series of violence and hate crimes, such as the Chicago attacks of a mentally disabled man and, on another occasion, a fatal shooting.
In this latest case, it’s been reported that 60 people watched the rape in a closed group that’s said to have several thousand members. One man sickeningly even commented ‘three against one hahaha.’
One of the members, 21-year-old Josefine Lundgren, was the first to call the police. She notified them that she saw one of the men tear the victim’s clothes off and lie on top of her while another had a gun. The attackers ended the video by saying, ‘you have been raped,’ and laughing. Some assumed the footage was ‘a poorly orchestrated joke’ while others reported what they were seeing.
It’s reported that one of the attackers were also taking photos on Snapchat and that they were filming their follow-up video when the police arrived.
A spokesperson for Facebook has called this ‘a hideous crime’, stating that their teams ‘work around the clock to review content that is being reported by users.’
The company’s policy is that footage will not be removed simple because it is violent or graphic but will be taken down if it’s seen to mock the victim or celebrate violence.
The ethics between giving the voice back to the people in a completely untampered way has always been a controversial debate and this latest crime will only further discussions about whether real-time reporting should be monitored in the face of freedom of speech.
The footage of the rape has been removed from Facebook, with the social media network helping to retrieve it to be used as evidence, and it’s believed that the suspects will be further charged for having streamed it.