Instagram is being criticised after it took more than 12 hours to remove photos of the body of a murdered 17-year-old teenager and the man who allegedly murdered her.
After Bianca Devins from upstate New York was allegedly killed by Brandon Clark who she’d met recently on Instagram, he is accused of posting photos of her corpse online, police said on Monday (local time).
The gory pictures were redistributed widely on Instagram, including by online posters who made light of or celebrated the teen’s death.
Others urged people to stop circulating the images, which also appeared on chat sites including 4chan and Discord.
Instagram eventually removed the images but only after initially applying a filter which warned other users that the content was graphic.
Bianca’s family said that the images online are adding to their grief and they are yet to receive any communication from Instagram.
“It is absolutely disgusting that people are sharing and screen-shotting the pictures of Bianca’s tragic death,” Daily Mail reported Bianca’s stepmother Kaleigh wrote on Facebook.
“I have seen the pictures. I will forever have those images in my mind when I think of her, when I close my eyes, those images haunt me,” she wrote.
Devins and Clark met on Instagram about two months ago, police said.
Initially, they were online acquaintances only, but the “relationship progressed into a personally intimate one,” police said.
“They had spent time together, and were acquainted with each other’s families.”
The two attended a concert together Saturday night (local time) in New York City, where they got into an argument.
They arrived back in Utica early the next morning and went to a spot on a dead-end street, according to the police statement.
There, they argued until Clark allegedly used a large knife to kill the teenager, police said.
Authorities began receiving calls around 7.20 am on Sunday (local time), reporting that a man posted on a social media site that he had killed a person.
After police arrived at the scene and found Clark stabbing himself, he allegedly laid down on a green tarp and took selfies lying across the dead teenager before officers took him into custody, officers said.
The case is being investigated as a murder and attempted suicide, Utica police Lt. Bryan Coromato said.
Devins’ family said in a written statement that the teen was “a talented artist” and “a wonderful young girl, taken from us all too soon.”
“Bianca’s smile brightened our lives,” the family wrote. “She will always be remembered as our princess.”
The family statement said Devins graduated from high school last month and looked forward to attending a community college in the fall.
Utica police said they are working to address the sharing of the images with various social media platforms.
The Utica City School District issued a statement saying they “share our deepest heartfelt condolences with her family and loved ones.”.
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