Earlier this week we reported on the shooting of two protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, by a 17 year-old who was attending an event organised by a militia group on Facebook.
The social media platform was made aware of the event by others, but failed to report or remove the event, earning widespread criticism in the process. Now it looks like Facebook is blocking all searches for the Kenosha shooter.
This was first reported by Rolling Stone, and corroborated The Verge, with both trying to do their own searches on the platform for the Kenosha shooter’s name. We have chosen not to list his name here, as he is still under the age of 18, according to reports.
The shooter was identified and arrested on Wednesday, after which Facebook moved to block any searches of his name, as well as stop any user from creating a profile with the same name. The latter decision was made as the platform was worried that a copycat account would be made and potentially be used to spread misinformation.
On that front we have to say that Facebook has made the right call, especially as misinformation remains a significant problem plaguing the platform.
As for why it has chosen to block searches, Facebook has provided a less convincing reason.
To that end it tells The Verge that blocking of specific terms is nothing new, and is done regularly. “We block searches for a ton of stuff – for instance, child exploitation content,” a spokesperson told the publication.
While that may indeed be the case, as to why it has done so here, still remains unconfirmed. Added to this is the lingering question of whether a similar approach has been adopted for mass shootings in the States in past years.
If it has not been done previously, further explanation will be needed.