As news broke regarding the murder of two journalists at Virginia TV station WDBJ7, the story took a dark turn on social media when accounts in the name of another WDBJ7 staffer posted what appeared to be first-hand video of the fatal shooting.
Twitter and Facebook responded quickly with suspensions of the offending accounts under the name Bryce Williams—the on-air name of the alleged shooter—but not before the accounts, which each appeared to have been created on August 18 with nothing more than innocuous cat videos at the time, had their video posts shared widely. In Twitter’s case, the gruesome video of the murder of reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward would auto-play in silence for anybody who scrolled through it without changing Twitter’s default “auto-play video” setting.
Images captured from the “Bryce Williams” account on Twitter before it was suspended.
5 more images in gallery
While the Facebook account in question contained little more than the horrific video—captured in the above gallery the moment Facebook acted to suspend it—the Twitter account contained more confessional posts, some of which can be seen in the above gallery. Washington Post staffer Brian Fung later reported that Google was aware of attempts to repost the yanked videos at YouTube.
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