The first case of gang rape broadcasted live on Facebook started in Sweden on Wednesday.
Rape case in Sweden
Prosecutor Pontus Melander says there are eight witnesses to the live broadcast, but he was unable to secure the video itself from Facebook.
Speaking to Sverige Radio, the evidence was described by the prosecutor as “substantial and unusual,” given that he had “so many witnesses to a suspected rape inside an apartment.” However, the prosecution says they did not have Facebook’s full cooperation.
The three male suspects are 18, 21, 24 years old. The first two face rape charges. The eldest is accused of accessory to rape.
The incident took place in Uppsala in January 2017. The next day the apartment was raided by the police, which was following up on reports of rape by people who witnessed the live transmission. The police raid itself was also transmitted. The men were immediately arrested. They all plead “not guilty.”
The only known precedent of this kind is in France. In April 2016, an 18-year old live-streamed on Twitter’s Periscope her friend’s rape.In May 2016, a woman in France used the same application to record her suicide.
Terrorism in France
Beyond rape, there are different kinds of crime that has been live streamed.
In June 2016, the terrorist Larossi Abballa live-streamed the murder of the 42-year old policev officer Jean-Baptiste Salvaing.
Aballa first killed the police captain on the spot, then went inside his home and took his wife and son as hostages. From inside the officers home, Aballa apparently posted on Facebook the murder of the police captain, as well as threats towards his 36-year partner and police secretary, Jessica, challenging the police to raid.
No Social Media responsibility
Facebook’s live streaming feature is relatively new. Twitter and YouTube are following the trend. While uploaded content is monitored within 24 hours,
While Facebook content is monitored within 24 hours from the moment it is posted, livestreaming cannot be monitored for violence or other offending material in real time. And although Facebook has recognized “the unique challenges” of live streaming, the service continues to be used online in a manner that calls into question whether the platform can provide an ethically responsible service.
For the moment the company strives to keep the 24-hour limit for the millions of reports it receives while paying particular attention to trending stories.