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Mark Zuckerberg vows to tackle spate of murder videos being uploaded to Facebook

Steve Stephens videoed himself shooting a random pensioner in the face and uploaded the video to Facebook.
Apr 19th 2017, 8:39 AM 8,862 11

Facebook Shooting Steve Stephens. Source: AP/PA Images

FACEBOOK CEO MARK Zuckerberg has said the social media giant must address the surge in the number of grisly videos emerging on the platform.

In recent days, Steve Stephens, 37 and thought to have been mentally unstable, had been on the run since 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr was shot dead on Easter Sunday, seemingly at random in broad daylight in Cleveland, Ohio. The video was recorded and then posted on Facebook.

The murder and a video sparked outrage across the world and renewed scrutiny of the growing number of murder videos being posted on social media.

Stephens shot himself after a brief police chase after a McDonald’s worker recognised him while he was buying chicken nuggets.

Worrisome trend

Facebook removed the footage hours after the attack. Zuckerberg acknowledged that the world’s largest social network had a role to play in stemming the worrisome trend.

“There is a lot of work to do here,” he told a Facebook developers’ conference. “And we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.”

Police got the decisive tip-off after Stephens had been on the run for nearly 48 hours, when a McDonald’s employee recognized him at a drive-thru in Pennsylvania shortly after 11:00 am (1500 GMT) and called authorities.

“There was a short pursuit in which the vehicle was stopped. As the officers approached that vehicle, Steve Stephens took his own life,” Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams said.

Pennsylvania police said he shot himself with a handgun about a mile from the McDonald’s following a low-speed pursuit — at under 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour.

Facebook Shooting Pennsylvania State Police investigate a car and probable suicide of the Cleveland Facebook killing suspect Steve Stephens. Source: Greg Wohlford/PA

Tom Ducharme, owner of the restaurant near Erie, told CNN that Stephens drove up, placed an order and paid an employee, who recognized him and called police.

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Stephens worked for a behavioral health agency serving children through mental health services, foster care and adoption, at-risk youth and other programs.

But according to a timeline of events pieced together by police and Facebook, Stephens posted a video on Sunday afternoon saying he intended to kill, and followed up two minutes later with video of Godwin’s shooting.

In a third video 11 minutes later, streamed live from Stephens’ car, he said he intended to kill others.

Facebook took down Stephens’ videos and disabled his account two hours after he first started uploading. It acknowledged the delay had been too long and said it was reviewing its protocols.

With reporting by - © AFP, 2017

Read: ‘Crush the saboteurs’: Here’s how the British press reacted to Theresa May calling an election >

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Garreth MacNamee

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