Instagram slammed for allowing photos of slain teen’s corpse to remain online for an entire day
Instagram is facing a barrage of criticism after it allowed photos of murdered teen Bianca Devins’ corpse to remain online for a day. The tardiness comes in stark contrast to its strict censorship policies in other areas.
Brandon Andrew Clark, 21, allegedly killed 17-year-old Devins in Utica, New York, and posted grisly photos of her corpse on Instagram, 4chan and Discord before attempting to kill himself.
Police say the teen met Clark through Instagram and the relationship had progressed into a “personally intimate one.” The pair attended a concert on Saturday night and, in the early hours of Sunday morning, Clark allegedly killed Devins with a knife. After her death, he posted a photo of her bloodied body along with the caption: “I’m sorry Bianca.”
The photo remained online for most of Sunday and Clark’s account wasn’t disabled until Monday. Instagram is infamous for its speed at deleting images containing even mild nudity, such as women’s nipples, and it also has a policy of removing posts containing suicidal ideation, so the fact that photos of a murdered girl’s body were allowed to remain online for such a long time is perplexing.
Bianca’s stepmother Kaleigh Nicole saw the images and posted a scathing Facebook status blasting anyone who shares them. “I have seen the pictures. I will FOREVER have those images in my mind when I think of her. When I close my eyes, those images haunt me,” she wrote.
The social media killing also prompted a reaction from Damian Collins, the chair of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, who asked on Twitter on Tuesday: “Another brutal murder has gone viral. When will social networks take violence seriously?”
In response to the controversy an Instagram spokesperson said: “Our goal is to take action as soon as possible – there is always room for improvement. We don’t want people seeing content that violates our policies.”
Police found Clark with Bianca’s body in his vehicle early on Sunday. He was taken to hospital for surgery but is expected to recover. He has been charged with second-degree murder.
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