World

Outrage over Facebook Live videos of dad hanging baby

Footage of Thai man killing his daughter and himself intensifies debate on flagging violent online content

BANGKOK Thai police said yesterday they would discuss how to expedite taking down "inappropriate online content" after a father broadcast the killing of his 11-month-old daughter live on Facebook.

Two videos, which were available for nearly 24 hours before they were taken down, show Wuttisan Wongtalay hanging his daughter from a building in Phuket on Monday before he turned off the camera and killed himself.

"We will discuss inappropriate online content, whether on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, and how we can speed up taking this content down," said deputy national police spokesman Kissana Phatanacharoen.

It is unclear how the authorities plan to speed things up.

Police had asked the Ministry of Digital Economy to contact Facebook about removing the two videos. The ministry in turn contacted Facebook on Tuesday, and the videos were taken down at 5pm that day, nearly a day after they had been uploaded.

Google said the videos were also on YouTube, and they were taken down within 15 minutes of being informed of it by the BBC.

The videos, which drew nearly half a million views before they were taken down, sparked outrage among netizens and prompted questions about how Facebook's reporting system works and how violent content can be flagged faster, Reuters reported.

The case is the latest in a string of violent crimes that have plagued Facebook despite making up a small percentage of videos.

On Tuesday, a Swedish court jailed three men for the rape of a woman that was broadcast live on Facebook.

Last week, Facebook said it was reviewing how it monitored violent footage and other objectionable material after a posting of the fatal shooting of a man in Cleveland, Ohio, in the US, was visible for two hours before being taken down.

Some are asking what took the Thai authorities so long to act. Mr Kissana blamed the delay partly on the time difference between the US, where Facebook is headquartered, and Thailand.

"We did the best we could, but there is the time difference issue because Facebook is headquartered in San Francisco," he said, without elaborating.

Thai media came under fire yesterday for publishing images of the murder.

At least one major daily printed an image of the murder-suicide on its front page on Tuesday, while several TV channels also aired segments of the videos, AFP reported.

In a statement, Facebook described the incident as "appalling". "There is absolutely no place for content of this kind on Facebook and it has now been removed," it told AFP.

Last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg vowed to address the issue after the Ohio incident. He conceded that Facebook has "a lot of work" to do.

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