Facebook has begun taking down pages that glorified Elliot Rodger, who murdered six people in Isla Vista, California before taking his own life on Saturday. Rodger left his own social network footprint and his YouTube videos have finally been removed.
As previously reported, Rodger’s social media activity concerned his parents to the point that they had contacted police before the murders in April. While police did meet with Rodger, they were not able to do anything as he didn’t seem like someone they could put in an involuntary mental health hold. After that, though, he posted more videos on YouTube, including one called “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” just hours before he stabbed and killed his three roommates. He also wrote a nearly 140-page manifesto.
While YouTube has said that they could not pull his videos themselves, a Rodger family lawyer told Forbes that they made some of his videos private. His profile is still up and other videos of his remain viewable.
His YouTube account is still up, as is his Facebook page, which is “frozen” as it was the day he died. However, USA Today reports that Facebook has pulled down several pages that call Rodger, 22, a hero. One of the first, “Elliot Rodger is an American hero,” was pulled. On Tuesday, another surfaced, but was also pulled.
Of course, that does bring up the question of freedom of speech online. Since Facebook and YouTube are private companies, they can pull down content if enough users request it.
In addition, Rodger’s actions did create a different kind of social media footprint. On Twitter, people have been using the #YesAllWomen hashtag for days to highlight stories of harassment and fear and bring them to the attention of the web.
Daniel S Levine is a longtime movie fan and a graduate of Hoftsra University. I also know just about everything you might need to know about Star Wars.