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Treshawn Favors

Ethical Paper

The impact that the mass media has had on our culture has been
overwhelming. However from my point of view, while acknowledging the mass
media has made many tremendous contributions to our culture, there is more
than enough evidence to conclude overall that their influence has not been all
that healthy.
While many blame the media for all our current social problems, a larger
portion of the blame on ourselves, the consumers. We are the ones who buy
newspapers, magazines, and go on the web daily. We allow our behavior to be
influenced by what was seen or heard.
Law enforcement exists in a culture that is heavily influenced by a very
complex mass media industry. When one uses the word mass media, it should
be noted that the definition includes all forms of both the print and electronic
media. It is very important that law enforcement officers understand. We see first
hand the violence, degradation, and lack of ethical behavior by people as a
consequence of the mass media influence. A 2013 social media survey from the
International Association of Chiefs of Police found that 96 percent of police
departments use social media in some capacity, more than 80 percent say it has
helped them solve crimes, and 73 percent of agencies said it helped improve
police-community relationships in their jurisdiction, (Entis).

The entire reason people fought to require police officers to wear body
cameras and have dashboard cams is to keep them accountable after many
years of increasing civilian deaths at the hands of cops. There have been many
cases of officers telling one story about a fatal shooting and the footage from
dashboard cameras or bystander cell phones telling a different one. Facebook is
a huge media outlet that contributes. A concern over how the company decides
to censor or delete content has grown.
In my first case, Facebook deleted the account of Korryn Gaines while the
23-year-old mother was engaged in a standoff with Baltimore police in which she
was shot and killed. During the confrontation, she posted videos to her Facebook
in which she expressed a fear for her life. When the standoff ended, Gaines was
dead, shot by an officer at the scene. Her five-year-old son had to be taken to the
hospital because an officer shot him. Facebook claims to allow police to make
special requests to shut down an account or activity on its platform. In Gaines
case, Facebook claims that they deactivated her account out of fears for her
sons safety. Since Gaines death, the Facebook account has been re-activated,
but the videos have been removed. Baltimore County Police say that the videos
have been preserved for evidence.
In my second case, Facebook live video took over again showing the
aftermath of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile. It was reported that it might
have been deleted by police officers rather than a technical glitch. Castile was
with his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds and her four-year-old daughter when police
repeatedly shot him during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota. Reynolds

broadcast the events that followed through a Facebook Live video, which was
removed from the social network. A Facebook spokesman said a glitch was
responsible for the removal, but Reynolds indicates police deleted it when they
took her phone. "They took my phone. They took over my Facebook," said
Reynolds, speaking to journalists after the police released her (Myers 2016).
Some sources are claiming that it was the police who deleted the video from
Reynolds account. Facebook reinstated the 10-minute video within an hour with
a warning message.
My last case deals with law enforcement in the town of Danville, Virginia
becoming a target of national outrage. Images first posted by a local civilian,
which showed a number of stationary police cruisers sitting with their front hoods
up. Those images were shared by New York Daily News Senior Justice Writer
Shaun King, who claimed that officers were putting the hoods of their cars up to
block the dash cameras from filming them (Orlove, 2016). According to Danville
Police Lt. Mike Wallace, the reason that officers had been opening their hoods
had nothing to do with circumventing justice and everything to do with vehicle
maintenance. Officers had been ordered to pop the hoods to let their vehicles
cool, both to save money and keep more officers on the street.
Each of these topics can lead to great conversation of going over if this is
right or wrong. I think that Facebook was wrong in the two incidents that were
under their control. People have the right to see what is happening and police
shouldnt be the ones to judge and try and take control over that. If their actions
had nothing to hide, then the videos shouldnt have been taken down. Taking

them down makes it look suspicious and leads towards more negative thoughts
citizens have been having towards law enforcement already.
As we gain improvements in technology, we are facing negative effects.
Every time a new product is developed people immediately discover excellent
and clever ways to utilize it. Law enforcement officers have to be very cautious
when they receive technological advances. Learning how to properly use
modern, advanced tools is a very pertinent skill for the officers to have. It helps
humanize the force by allowing departments to connect and converse with the
general public, but more importantly, it provides a platform for police officers to
share information quickly and respond to tips from civilians, (Entis). When
criminals gain possession of these inventions, conflict can arise and officers must
take caution. Technology is growing and creating more relationships between law
enforcement and the community. Technology offers crucial benefits to our society,
but can be used in negative ways as well.

Works Cited

Entis, Laura. "The Crazy, Cool and Unsettling Ways Police Are Using Social
Media." Entrepreneur. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
Myers, Maddy. "Facebook Live Video of Philando Castiles Death May Have
Been Removed By Police, Not a Glitch." The Mary Sue. N.p., 8 July 2016. Web.
17 Oct. 2016.
Orlove, Raphael. "Is This Virginia Police Department Popping The Hoods On Cop
Cars To Block Dashcams? (Updated)." Jalopnik. N.p., 26 Sept. 2016. Web. 16
Oct. 2016.

Syrmopoulos, Jay. "Police Order Facebook to Deactivate Korryn Gains' Social


Media Accounts Before Killing Her." The Free Thought Project. N.p., 2 Aug. 2016.
Web. 19 Oct. 2016.