Social media expert weighs in on crimes captured on Facebook Live

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NORFOLK, Va. – Most people use Facebook nowadays, right? Well, some are using it to document crimes that either just happened or are happening now.

Moments after the shooting of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minn,, a witness took to Facebook live to post the aftermath. In the video you can see the bleeding victim and the officer with his gun still drawn.

In Norfolk, minutes before gun shots fill the air, a victim logged into Facebook live and the shots were heard on camera as the phone fell to the floor.

After speaking to Dylan Wittkower, an Associate Professor at Old Dominion University who teaches Philosophy and Technology, he said social media is not a mirror, it’s a window to the rest of the world.

Digital forensics is making information accessible to police as they conduct investigations, but more than that, people are being less private with what they post online.

Wittkower said posting the videos online of gruesome scenes and tragic sounds can be ghoulish if played repeatedly, but he also said that is what viewers tend to watch because of the thrill.

He said social media does keep people informed and documents real happenings. Ethics comes into play, however, when dealing with privacy and sensitivity to families who may be grieving.

Wittkower said the videos and recordings can help let people on the outside know how it feels to be in the mix of the latest event, but can also help piece together the full story after the fact.

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