Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22)
Congressman Convened Members of Congress & Social Media Industry for Roundtable Discussion on Content Moderation
Brindisi: These Companies Need To Do Better
Following the murder of Upstate resident, 17-year-old Bianca Devins, and the dissemination of graphic images, Congressman Anthony Brindisi vowed to take action to prevent this tragedy from happening again. Brindisi convened a meeting of members of Congress and Social Media companies to discuss a path forward.
Brindisi held a roundtable discussion with members of Congress and representatives from Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, Google, Reddit, and Tumblr. Brindisi grilled the companies on their content moderation policies and focused on ways Congress can help address gaps in communication and enforcement.
Congressman Brindisi convenes meeting with members of Congress and Social Media companies
“Social media has changed the way people communicate and has opened up Pandora’s box for abuse and harassment in ways we could not have anticipated,” Brindisi said. “There are no easy answers, but these companies need to do better. That’s why I brought together members of Congress and social media companies to discuss their content monitoring strategies and outline the barriers to making sure the harassment endured by the Devins family does not happen again.”
At the beginning of the roundtable, Brindisi brought the Devins case to the forefront of the meeting and expressed his desire to make sure tragedies like it never happen again. Brindisi heard from the companies about their policies and responses to graphic content being shared on their platforms. In the wake of the Bianca Devins tragedy, and advocacy by the Devins family and Brindisi, Instagram changed its policy on direct messages, allowing users to block messages from accounts they do not follow.
Brindisi encouraged the companies to collaborate on best practices and asked for them to work with Congress. With roughly seven-in-ten Americans using social media, the platforms are critical to the lives of nearly every American. Last year, Brindisi joined members of the Devins family to call on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, to do more to address graphic content. Since then, Brindisi has led the charge in Congress to find additional ways to make sure graphic content does not spread across platforms.
“These companies now know this tragedy was unacceptable, and we’re trying to push them to improve by bringing them together for a thoughtful conversation with policy makers. I am hopeful we can find a solution that works for everyone,” Brindisi said.
Brindisi, no stranger to taking on large media companies, called on Instagram to re-evaluate their graphic content policies and enforcement earlier this year. Instagram, and its parent company Facebook, currently employ approximately 15,000 individuals to police billions of monthly users.