Twitter under fire for allowing graphic images of Texas mass shooting victims to circulate for hours
In the days after a mass shooting at Allen Premium Outlets in Texas, videos and photos depicting the immediate and gruesome aftermath of the shooting began circulating on Twitter.
Some unknowing Twitter users opened up the social media platform on Monday only to see a video depicting several victims lying on the ground covered in blood with some body parts visible.
Another video showed the gunman deceased, with blood coming from his body. Stills from the video were shared separately. For hours, the footage haunted people’s “for you” feeds. Even those not seeking out the content stumbled across it.
Twitter user Michael expressed anger at Twitter CEO Elon Musk over a video of violent footage auto-playing as he was scrolling.
“Thanks for the god damn trauma,” Michael wrote.
Another Twitter user pleaded with Mr Musk to “take down all these uncensored video[s]” from the shooting.
“They are posting dead children’s faces on Twitter,” they wrote.
Carin tweeted that she searched “Allen Outlet Shooting” on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter but only Twitter showed gory videos.
“Something is not right with Twitter,” Carin wrote.
One person tried to warn others about a particularly gruesome video circulating by taking a screenshot of the first still of the video.
“A video is circulating around of the children’s bodies and I wanna warn everybody to not open it if comes up on your [timeline]. It’s horrific but here’s how the beginning of the video looks like ” they wrote.
The Independent has reached out to Twitter for comment.
Mr Musk remained silent on the platform as people complained about the horrific footage. The only thing he did address about the shooting was questioning the validity of posts made by the shooter Mauricio Garcia on a Russian website.
Since Mr Musk took over the platform in October 2022, he has drastically scaled back the number of employees at the company, including those that worked in the trust and safety department.
The impact of fewer employees was evident as Twitter was slow to respond to the sensitive videos circulating- something the platform once did much quicker.
Concerns about this exact situation arose when Mr Musk obtained the platform and though he initially told advertisers he would enact a content moderation council, it is unclear if that process has begun.
Graphic material often found its way onto Twitter in the past but it was more likely to be downranked and hard to find. The new screwed up system seems to prioritize these vile accounts and presents material at the top of the feed. Awful .
— emily bell (@emilybell) May 7, 2023
The shooting in Allen left eight people dead, including three young children, as well as seven other people injured.