Every now and then there's an event which highlights the power social media giant Facebook has. Sadly this week that come in the form of the tragic death of Baltimore woman Korryn Gaines.
The 23-year-old mother barricaded herself in her apartment with her five-year-old son earlier in the week during a heated standoff with police during which she brandished a shotgun at officers outside her building.
She was eventually shot and killed at the end of the siege but throughout the ordeal she was posting videos and updates to her social media.
Police Chief Jim Johnson said Wednesday AEST that the department made the emergency request to have Gaines' social media accounts suspended after she posted videos online showing the standoff. People who saw the postings, Johnson said, responded by encouraging her to not comply with police.
As a result, Facebook temporarily disabled her Facebook and Instagram accounts and removed the posts. It is not an uncommon thing for Facebook to do, but it's a reminder of the power the company has to control information and influence critical situations.
According to AP Videos posted on Facebook and Instagram appeared to show Gaines, who was black, talking with police in the doorway to her apartment and to her son during the standoff. In one, she asks her son what the police are trying to do.
"They trying to kill us," the boy says.
"Do you want to go out there?" "No," he says.
One video that was deleted but later appeared on Twitter, shows a member of the police SWAT team standing in the doorway casually poised with a gun.
According to authorities Gaines was armed with a legally purchased 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun during the standoff which at one point she pointed at officers and said, "if you don't leave, I'm going to kill you."
An officer shot at her and Gaines fired two shots, but missed the officers, who returned fire and killed her, police said.
Police had originally turned up at her residence to issue an arrest warrant for her on charges stemming from a March 10 traffic stop including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Police said she was pulled over because instead of a license plate, she had a cardboard tag that said: "Any government official who compromises this pursuit of happiness and right to travel will be held criminally responsible and fined, as this is a natural right and freedom."
According to court documents, during the stop she reportedly refused to comply with officers telling them they would have to "murder" her to get her out of her car.
- With AP