Social Media Companies: Black Lives Matter Online too

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Videos and images capturing police brutality and the last moments of Black people’s lives are inhumane, painful and traumatising. We’re at a dire place that they exist.

They are posted online as vital evidence for exposing the real injustices that Black people face, and to show the truth surrounding a person’s death. But people should have a choice in whether or not they wish to engage - rather than it being forced on them.

That’s why we’re urgently calling for all social media companies to take action to provide greater controls on triggering and violent content through the blurring of violent images, and warning users that the content that they’re about to see may be graphic.

As Glitch, a charity to protect people from online abuse, we’ve seen the impact the recent images of both Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara’s violent arrest and George Floyd’s horrific murder have had on people. Research has also shown a quarter of people who see content of violent events develop symptoms of PTSD. 

We worry that in the long-term, these graphic and violent videos and images also lead to the desensitisation. That it is the new norm for videos of dying and hurt Black people to be uploaded and shared, without warning and sensitivity. This is not the case with other injustices and it must not become the case for Black lives.

Instagram has implemented this feature on their stories, which we welcome. But this feature must also be included on Instagram posts, and must be implemented on Facebook stories and posts, and Twitter posts and TikTok content. 

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