Facebook Has given the Police the Ability to Remove Public Access to Posts

3d illustration of a large brass key inserted into a metallic Facebook logo on a dark gray reflective surface

Horrifyingly, Facebook Has given the Police the Ability to Remove Public Access to Posts—Such as Live Videos of Police Brutality by Maddy Myers |

Korryn Gaines’ name probably sounds familiar to you. She was killed by Baltimore County police officers in a standoff on August 1, 2016, in Randallstown, Maryland, near Baltimore. Over the course of the incident, Gaines’ five-year-old son was also shot in the arm. Many have theorized that racism played a role in how the police treated Gaines and her family, including this child abuse negotiator, who has faced similar situations and found ways to de-escalate them non-violently.

The details surrounding the standoff and Gaines’ death have become yet another example of how social media has given citizens a chance to broadcast their interactions with police, thereby allowing the filmed evidence to speak for itself. Gaines broadcast information about her experiences on Instagram and on Facebook, presumably hoping to secure evidence for future use. The police contacted Facebook, which also owns Instagram, and they requested that Gaines’ social media accounts be shut down.

The Guardian reports that the police used a “law enforcement portal” through Facebook that allowed them to successfully ensure that Gaines’ posts would no longer be available to the public.

Baltimore County police chief James Johnson said that Gaines’ accounts have not been deleted and that the information contained in them would be used as evidence, but he did confirm that the police halted her live broadcasts: “We did in fact reach out to social media authorities to deactivate her account, to take it offline, if you will. Why? In order to preserve the integrity of the negotiation process with her and for the safety of our personnel [and] her child. Ms. Gaines was posting video of the operation as it unfolded. Followers were encouraging her not to comply with negotiators’ request that she surrender peacefully.”

Although the Baltimore County police department has recently implemented a body camera program, not all of the officers in the department have their cameras yet, and none of the officers involved in the standoff with Gaines had cameras. So, whatever footage she captured might well serve as the only available filmed evidence. According to The Guardian’s report, no one seems to have access to Gaines’ videos at this time (other than the people who could’ve downloaded them illicitly before her accounts went offline). The police have issued a warrant to request them from Facebook. Presumably, Facebook has not deleted them, although they are not currently available to the public or even to the police as yet.

 sting ray

One recent example of Facebook’s live video feature ending up as evidence would be the circumstances surrounding Philando Castile’s death at the hands of police. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, filmed Castile during an interaction with police that began as a traffic stop and ended in Castile’s death. The police subsequently took Reynolds’ phone from her, and she theorizes that they manually deleted the video from her profile via the Facebook app. If true, this would constitute police tampering with evidence. Facebook later restored the video to Reynolds’ feed after adding a content warning to it. At that time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made what appeared to be a statement in support of citizens’ usage of the Facebook live video feature for this type of situation:

The situation with Gaines seems depressingly similar in many ways, except that in this case, the public has now become aware of the existence of this supposed “law enforcement portal” that allows the police to demand that a Facebook and/or Instagram account be taken “offline” (this appears to mean “private,” since the accounts have not been deleted, but are no longer accessible to anyone). In this case, the police had a lot of lead time in order to decide to do this, because Gaines began making social media posts about her experiences on Monday morning when the police served her a warrant. This gave the police a chance to issue a request to Facebook and Instagram through the “law enforcement portal” to make her account unavailable to the public.

It’s not yet clear whether Gaines’ posts will ever be set back to being public again, as occurred with Diamond Reynolds’ video of Philando Castile’s death. Perhaps Reynolds’ video was restored because of the circumstances of its removal; she alleges that the police used her account to delete the video, as opposed to going through the more official-seeming channel of the “law enforcement portal.” But what are the implications of this supposed “law enforcement portal”? How do the police decide what videos should not be made available to the public?

The Baltimore County police chief’s explanation is that the live videos were removed during the standoff because of concerns about other users potentially encouraging Gaines not to “surrender peacefully.” Even if you agree with Chief Johnson on that evaluation, what’s the larger explanation for why the videos are no longer available to anyone? Is there any reason why the police would be preventing the public from seeing Gaines’ videos and posts at this point, since she clearly intended them to be public posts?

The entire case has a lot of disturbing implications for civilian journalism going forward. After reading Mark Zuckerberg’s statement about Diamond Reynolds’ video, I had hopes that for all its faults, the Facebook live video feature could prove to be an important resource for marginalized people facing mistreatment and violence by police. However, now that I know this “law enforcement portal” exists, I no longer have any faith in Facebook’s ability to stand by its users.

It seems to me like Facebook wants to have its journalism cake and eat it too. After the fall-out surrounding Facebook’s “Trending Topics” algorithm and Facebook’s employment of “News Curators,” I came to understand that Facebook exerted a certain amount of control over its News Feed. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so long as its members are aware of it. Just like a journalistic outlet, the Facebook News Feed is designed to show you stories that will interest you and inform you. Also like a journalistic outlet, the Facebook News Feed has a bias, because even algorithms have a bias—and, of course, Facebook hires former journalists in order to help design its curation methods.

Viewed through that lens, Facebook (and other social networks) serves as a new twist on the idea of a front page of a newspaper. Although these algorithmic curation methods are different from the journalistic methods of decades past, they don’t seem to be going anywhere, and that has its advantages and disadvantages. Many outlets (including this one) rely a lot on Facebook’s algorithms and curation in order to see their stories succeed.

A lot of people get their news from social media these days, which again isn’t necessarily bad, except that so much of that news is curated and controlled in ways that are invisible to us all. By allowing social networks to decide what we do and don’t see, we’re demonstrating a whole lot of trust in them to know what’s right, and I don’t really trust Facebook to know what I “should” see, especially now that I know more about how they operate.

The whole point of a free press is that governmental influence is notsupposed to be involved. If the police have direct access over what is and isn’t available to us on Facebook, then Facebook shouldn’t be considered a journalistic outlet. Period. It’s bad enough that we have to worry about corporate influence over Facebook’s algorithms. Thinking about police intervention has much more disturbing implications, because Facebook and other social media has a huge amount of control over what we see online.

Usually, when people are complaining about their right to “free speech” on the Internet, they’re complaining about their right to harass marginalized people. But these are the issues that they should be concerned about instead, if they really care about free speech and, y’know, that other clause in the first amendment: the freedom of the press.

If Facebook wants to be seen as a journalistic outlet, and it seems as though they do, then they should operate according to their own internal editorial standards, not according to the whims of advertisers and definitely not according to the demands of law enforcement. The existence of this portal sets a dangerous precedent, and it’s an indication that citizens who want to document their own experiences should use video streaming outlets other than Facebook in order to do so, because it’s now very clear from this case which side Facebook is actually on, and it’s not yours.

(via The Guardian, image via Norebbo Stock Illustration & Design)


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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of TheTruther.us, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for WeAreChange.org, is currently working on publishing the WeAreChange memoir with Brian Kenny, If you would like to contribute to getting our book out click this link https://igg.me/at/Wearechangebook

Breaking: Standing Rock Surrounded By Heavily Armed Police..

Heavily Armed Cops Drop TEAR GAS On Peaceful Standing Rock Protesters.

Things are heating up at Standing Rock. After police spread lies yesterday about armed protesters who simply didn’t exist and they had no proof of, today they moved in with machine gun-wielding officers, and others loading shotguns as they descended on protesters


Thomas H. Joseph II, one of the protesters on site, says the following:

We need everyone able to come join us at Standing Rock.

Today’s action where uncalled for, the police was a direct threat to woman and children.

We gathered in prayer un-armed, prayed, sang songs, and attempted to leave. No threats, No vandalism, No violence was taken on our part.

Flood the White House with phone calls and demand Obama to act and enforce his previous declaration of no construction. With state police protecting Dakota Access Pipeline his words are meaningless.

White House Phone Number: 202-456-1111

Watch the video below, make the call and help SPREAD THE WORD till this is HEADLINE NEWS!


Many people are reporting they are unable to see/share videos. Police confiscating phones & deleting videos w/o warrant.
#StandingRock #NoDAPL #StateTerrorism

Hours More of Today’s Dramatic Video Footage Can Be Seen Here..

–> – http://livestream.com/unicornriot/events/6419548-  <—

From above, the “Water Protecters” say that the police dropped what was “either mustard or tear gas.”

 See for yourself…


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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of TheTruther.us, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for WeAreChange.org, is currently working on publishing the WeAreChange memoir with Brian Kenny, If you would like to contribute to getting our book out click this link https://igg.me/at/Wearechangebook

#FreeHugs Black Man Embraces Charlotte Police Exposes Hatred Of Black Lives Matter

The now-viral video begins with Ken E. Nwadike Jr., a black man wearing a #FreeHugs t-shirt embracing a white Charlotte, police officer, who thanks him for remaining peaceful.

In the background, Black Lives Matter protesters immediately become rowdy over this man’s action, cussing and complaining and accusing him of not being black.

Nwadike embraces another African-American police officer as one man yells  “You a pussy, nigga!”

“It’s not even like that, it’s about staying neutral,” replies Nwadike.

An irate protester begins screaming “No my nigga these motherfuckers aren’t stay neutral.” Nwadike responds, “Did he kill somebody?” pointing at the white officer.

“Did he kill somebody?” he repeats, pointing at the African-American officer.

The irate protester then continued yelling back. “Mind you that’s my mother fucking family that squad killed bitch.”

The protestor makes a hypocritical point – Black Lives Matter activists complain about stereotyping all black people as criminals, but are perfectly fine to stereotype all cops as bad, racist murderers or pigs.

“Look if one black person does something that doesn’t make every black person bad. If one cop does something we can not say that every cop is bad,” said Nwadike. “We cannot say that every cop is bad, none of these people here shot anyone!” Nwadike tries to explain to a woman, who isn’t interesting in listening to him and continues to scream in his face while demanding he remove his “free hugs” t-shirt.

The woman at one point in the video begins tugging on Nwadike’s shirt. Another black man then interjects and agrees with Nwadike.

“We know where he’s coming from he’s speaking from a message of peace.” Nwadike then thanks the other man for agreeing with him.

“The thing is, I see them as human beings just like I see everybody on this side as human beings,” he continues explaining to the crowd of protesters. “This uniform doesn’t make him a robot, just like your skin color doesn’t make you a criminal.

“This man gave me a hug,” Nwadike said, pointing at the white police officer, “and this man wants to fight me because of that,” pointing at a Black Lives Matter protester in the crowd who earlier started yelling profanities when he hugged the police officers.

“How does that make sense? Spreading more hate into the world, that’s what’s frustrating me,” Nwadike continued.

Although Nwadike might have a hard time convincing some protesters – as 70% of those arrested weren’t even from North Carolina – when will Black Lives Matter supporters realize that their movement was staged by a rich white man named George Soros.

Some BLM supporters have no problem taking money from a white man that wants to cause division, while others have no problem beating up a white man and dragging him and beating him up as some did in North Carolina. No matter the melanin in your skin color we are all human beings and the Free Hugs hero Ken Nwadike dared to stand up against BLM and expose the double standard of hypocrisy.

Nwadike ended his powerful speech saying “All lives matter.”  Yes, some police officers are murdering black men, but all cops are responsible for the individual actions done by by a few. It’s also worth noting – by making this a black vs. white issue, we are taking away from where the real concentrated effort and power should be going – and that’s the proper practices needed in hiring and training of police officers.

We Are Change previously recorded Ken Nwadike, the Free Hugs activist at the riotous protest against Donald Trump in San Diego.


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Donald Trump Calls Out Police Officers that Can’t Handle the Job

Talking about the Tulsa, Oklahoma shooting of Terence Crutcher, Republican nominee Donald Trump called for more accountability, better training, and to weed out the weak minded who can’t handle the stressful and demanding job of being a police officer.

Trump said officers who choke under pressure and are quick to make rash decisions shouldn’t be police officers at a speech in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trump told the crowd, “As you know I am a tremendous believer in police and law enforcement, because we need that for ourselves, we do, and I really got the endorsement from so many different groups and there great people, great people, you always have problems you have someone in there that either makes a mistake or chokes.”

Trump has previously expressed support for law enforcement and has been endorsed by the largest police union in the U.S., even telling a police organization in New Hampshire, the New England Police Benevolence Association back in December that every single cop killer gets the death penalty if Trump wins. Trump also condemned the recent Dallas Police Officer shooting at a Virginia campaign rally in July.

Speaking about the Tulsa shooting, Trump also told the crowd, “I must tell you I watched the shooting in particularly in Tulsa, and that man was hands up, that man went to the car hands up, put his hands on the car. I mean to me it looked like he did everything you are supposed to do and this young officer I don’t know what she was thinking.”

Trump went on to call the shooting “very troubling,” questioning the decision making by female police officer Betty Shelby, who has now been charged with manslaughter.

“But I am very ,very troubled by it,” said Trump, “And we have to be very careful so these things are terrible that was in my opinion that was a terrible situation and we’ve seen others, and the police are aware of it too the police are troubled by it too. Now did she get scared was she choking what happened? Well maybe people like that who choke can’t be doing what they are doing.”

The Fraternal Order of Police responded to Trump’s criticism of officer Betty Shelby through it’s group’s executive director Jim Pasco. “He must be mindful of the due process rights and presumption of innocence accorded to all, including police officers,” said Pasco.

Trump is treading a cautious line between maintaining the support of law enforcement and it’s supporters, and the burgeoning group of black voters, independents, moderates, and former Democrats trending towards Trump. Recently, Trump also called for a “stop-and-frisk” in cities in response to the latest wave of shootings.

To see some of Trump’s previous statements on police, watch the videos below.


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Enemy of the New World Order.

Police Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, Technology Project

Police stopping drivers at Connecticut DUI checkpoint

The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting.

“Let’s give him something,” one trooper declared. Another suggested, “we can hit him with creating a public disturbance.” “Gotta cover our ass,” remarked a third.

ACLU affiliates around the country have done a lot of cases defending the right to record in public places, but this case (press release,complaint) is particularly striking. I spoke to ACLU of Connecticut Legal Director Dan Barrett, and he told me about how the incident came about:

Our client is a guy who is very concerned with privacy, and who protests DUI checkpoints around the capital region here in Hartford, Connecticut. He feels they’re both unconstitutional and a waste of money. He has done public records investigations, for example, and recently found that for every two man hours put into a check point, it yields just one minor traffic citation—almost always for defective equipment. He was well known to the police, who also knew that he is a peaceful privacy and open-carry gun rights activist.

So Michael was out on Sept. 11, 2015 in West Hartford. He shows up, has a big sign that says “cops ahead, remain silent.” It’s handwritten—this is not threatening stuff. He stood on a small triangular traffic island. He was standing there for an hour, hour and a half without any problems. Then, the state police officers who were working the checkpoint come over to Michael, and the first thing they do is slap the camera out of his hand so it hits the ground. He thinks it’s broken.

It was really brazen. There’s another video showing that the first thing the state trooper does is walk up and with his open hand slap the camera down to the ground. He doesn’t even say anything like “put that down,” or “please lower your camera.” He just slaps it to the ground. Then he interacts with Michael as if nothing happened, as if, “I’m just allowed to do that, and I don’t even have to tell you why I just broke your camera.” It’s an amazing level of hostility.

The troopers search Michael, and theatrically announce that he has a gun—which they knew he had, and which he was carrying legally under Connecticut’s open carry law. So they take his gun, and they go run his pistol permit. As they’re doing that, Michael picks the camera up off the pavement—it’s a nice SLR that can also record video. He picks it up and tries to turn it on as one of the cops walks back over, and that’s where the video starts. The cop announces that “taking my picture is illegal.” Michael debates with him a little because he’s very knowledgeable about the law and the First Amendment, and the end result is that the trooper snatches the camera, walks away, and puts it on top of the cruiser, without realizing that it is working and is recording video.

TAKE ACTIONThis is the point at which the troopers’ accidental self-surveillance begins. Barrett continues:

So we get the three troopers at the cruiser talking about what to do. Michael’s permit comes back as valid, they say “oh crap,” and one of the troopers says “we gotta punch a number on this guy,” which means open an investigation in the police database. And he says “we really gotta cover our asses.” And then they have a very long discussion about what to charge Michael with—none of which appear to have any basis in fact. This plays out over eight minutes. They talk about “we could do this, we could do this, we could do this….”

In Connecticut, police officers have clear requirements under the law to intervene and stop or prevent constitutional violations when they see them. But at no time did any of the three officers pipe up and say, “why don’t we just give him his camera back and let him go.”

In the end they decide on two criminal infractions: “reckless use of a highway by a pedestrian,” and “creating a public disturbance.” They have a chilling discussion on how to support the public disturbance charge, and the top-level supervisor explains to the other two, “what we say is that multiple motorists stopped to complain about a guy waving a gun around, but none of them wanted to stop and make a statement.” In other words, what sounds like a fairy tale.

The tickets they gave him started a criminal prosecution in the Connecticut superior court. Eventually the state dismissed first one then the other count, though it took a whole year for him to disentangle himself from the criminal justice system.

Meanwhile, Michael filed a complaint with the state police. They claimed they couldn’t do their internal investigation without interviewing Michael. They kept calling Michael directly—and they did that even though there were criminal charges pending and Michael had a criminal defense lawyer. His lawyer kept calling them and saying “don’t you ever call my client again, you have to talk to me.” But they continued to try and get Michael to come in and be interviewed without his lawyer, claiming that they couldn’t do the investigation unless Michael gave a statement. It was unbelievable—this is an interaction that was recorded from start to finish on high-quality digital video. A year later there has been zero movement on the internal affairs investigation as far as anyone knows, which just shows that police and prosecutors in Connecticut should not be in charge of policing themselves.
As a result of the police’s clear inability to police themselves, the only avenue left for Picard and the ACLU of Connecticut is a lawsuit. That lawsuit is based on three claims, as Barrett laid out for me:

The first claim is the violation of Michael’s right to record—the efforts to prevent Michael from recording what was happening. That includes the fact that they swatted his camera and attempted to break it, and took it away, and they also tried to block him from taking photos of the license plates on the police cruiser using his cell phone after his camera was taken.

The second count is a Fourth Amendment claim: the seizure of Michael’s camera without probable cause to believe that it contained evidence of a crime, or a warrant for its seizure. The police cannot grab people’s property and confiscate it on a whim.

The third is a First Amendment retaliation claim. Whether it was because he was carrying a sign criticizing the police, because he was recording the police, because they just didn’t like him, or all of the above, it really appears from the evidence that they completely manufactured criminal charges against Michael.

If Michael had been just jotting down license plate numbers with a pen and pad and the troopers had taken it, or slapped the pen out of his hand saying “you’re not allowed to write down our license plate numbers,” everyone would recognize how ridiculous the situation was. And if the defendants had been any other kind of state or local employee—if they had been a road crew, and Michael had wanted to film them paving, and they had forced him to stop recording, their actions wouldn’t get any serious consideration by a court. Nothing about the defendants here being police makes their actions any more defensible. All Michael was doing was recording state employees doing their jobs on a public street.

The really interesting thing about this case is not just that the state troopers were so openly hostile to being recorded, or to anyone seeing what they were up to, but also that they appear to have had a very frank discussion inside the cruiser about how to punish somebody who was protesting them.
It’s surprising that we are still regularly hearing about incidents in which police are not respecting the constitutional right to record in public. But to hear police officers casually discussing the fabrication of criminal charges to retaliate against a protester is even more shocking. As Barrett put it to me, “It’s one of those things that on your darker days you may think happens all the time, but you never really thought there’d be a video recording of.”


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Danny F. Quest, is an artist, blogger, journalist, and media personality. Co. Founder of TheTruther.us, Danny works as a Freelance journalist and graphic designer for WeAreChange.org, is currently working on publishing the WeAreChange memoir with Brian Kenny, If you would like to contribute to getting our book out click this link https://igg.me/at/Wearechangebook

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