City of Utica Police
- The brutal killing of Bianca Devins, an Instagram star with thousands of followers, went viral on Monday after images of the crime were posted on the social network by the man charged with killing the 17-year-old.
- Instagram struggled to cope with the photos being republished by others, and two days on, YouTube was still featuring images of Devins’ body in search results.
- Business Insider identified five videos that used a photo of the crime in the thumbnail. Together, they have racked up more than 200,000 views.
- A spokesperson for YouTube did not respond to a request for comment. Facebook said it was "taking every measure to remove this content from our platforms."
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Two days after the killing of an Instagram star with thousands of followers shocked the internet, YouTube has failed to remove multiple videos featuring images of her mutilated body from the platform.
Bianca Devins, 17, was killed in the early hours of Sunday morning in the city of Utica, New York. Police have charged Brandon Clark, 21, with killing Devins.
The incident made headlines around the world after Clark posted photos of Devins’ body on his Instagram profile. Business Insider has seen the images and police have verified their authenticity.
They were removed from Clark’s Instagram Stories by Monday morning and some hours later, his account and his Facebook profile were deleted. But this was not before other Instagram users republished the photos.
Clark also shared the images on gaming chat service Discord, police said, while they have appeared on other social networks, including Twitter, where a simple search for Clark or Devins’ name produced results with the photos on Monday.
Instagram is reportedly getting a handle on the spread of the pictures, while users have also assisted in scrubbing them from the social network by flooding key hashtags with images of pink clouds. Instagram has also shut down accounts impersonating Clark, it said, and blocked the hashtag #yesjuliet, which was his Instagram handle.
YouTube features images of Devins’ body in search results
Little has been said about YouTube, however, where videos containing the images remained on Wednesday, two days after the story went viral.
Business Insider conducted incognito YouTube searches for "Bianca Devins" on Tuesday and Wednesday, and found five videos featuring images of Devins’ body within the top search results.
Four of the videos featured the photos in the thumbnail, but not within the content of the video — a tactic that could be used to increase engagement. Together, they racked up more than 181,000 views.
The fifth video features a teenage boy commenting on Devins’ death. An image of the crime is contained in the thumbnail and it also flashes up on screen during the video. It has more than 60,000 views and features a warning that it may be "inappropriate" for some users.
Some of the videos were removed after Business Insider flagged them to YouTube. A YouTube spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
It brings into sharp focus YouTube and Facebook-owned Instagram’s continued failure to rid their platforms of harmful content. They have made repeated promises to improve their moderation processes, but frailties in their systems were exposed after a video of the New Zealand mosque massacre went viral in March.
A Facebook spokesman said: "Our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic event. We are taking every measure to remove this content from our platforms. Our goal is to take action as soon as possible — there is always room for improvement. We don’t want people seeing content that violates our policies."
Devins’ mother calls for a message of love
In a new statement released to the press on Wednesday, Devins’ mother said she was devastated by her daughter’s death. She added that she wanted to spread Devins’ message of love.
"While I could not be there to protect her from this violent end, I will now be her voice and spread the message of ‘love, not violence’. Let us all pledge to share Bianca’s amazing spirit to make this world a better place," she said.
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