Are Social Media Companies Suppressing Police Shooting Footage?
This year marked another record. 1055 people shot by police. Three years ago, a video would pop-up of a police shooting every week or so which galvanized Americans to go out into the streets and demand Police reform and accountability. This lead to prosecutions of police officers for the first time in American history. It also lead to fewer shootings by police. Then, something changed. The videos stopped and police shootings shot up.
We have seen police confiscate phones. In fact any video recording of a fight is now seen as participation in the fight and can result in charges and confiscation of the phone. However, this criminalization of recording of a crime, by citizens or police cannot explain everything.
We know police is shooting more people than ever. We know that when they shoot people who are unarmed, it is common for Police officers to lie and claim that they were in danger when they were not. So if police are shooting unarmed Americans and they are still recording, why are we not seeing these videos?
The next possible hypothesis is that social media have changed their algorithms to restrict the viewing and sharing of these videos. This of course is their prerogative but it is a harmful one as it is leading to a continuation of police brutality and murder of American citizens without accountability.
If this is indeed the case either at the behest of the government or at their own behest. I’m willing to bet that it is not at their own behest. Why? Because the videos created revenue. The social media companies have shown that they have one value and one drive: profit. The more eyeballs the more profit and the videos got a lot of people to go to their platform.
This means that for them to cut off ability for people to see the videos, it was at the directive of the government. Of course this would seem to defy the first Amendment. Government cannot pass a law that restricts our right to free speech. However, there’s a loophole. The government can pressure someone to do something without passing a law. For instance let’s say the AG or a politician tells a room of Social Media executives that if they would lay off the police shooting videos, the government would be less likely to break up their monopoly at a time when it is seriously considering such actions.
I have no proof of this. I am likely wrong. But the fact of the matter remains that fewer videos are shown whether because of criminalization of recording which is an attack on our first amendment or social media companies are restricting our access to these videos by taking them down or restricting how many people see these videos. The end result to these actions is clear, more people were killed this year by police than ever before. Democracy dies in darkness, and so do Americans.