Congressman Anthony Brindisi today joined the family of the late Bianca Devins to announce new legislation to curb violent and graphic social media content. Bianca’s Law would increase transparency and accountability for major social media platforms and ensure they take action when violent content policies are violated.
Since Utica-native Bianca Devins’ tragic murder in July 2019 and the harrowing aftermath of harassment of her family, Brindisi has worked with the Devins family to hold social media companies accountable. Brindisi has worked with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to step-up moderation practices for violent content.
“What happened to Bianca and her family is unimaginable, and we cannot stand by and let another family go through the horror and harassment the Devins family did. Bianca’s Law is about preventing that kind of heartache from ever happening again,” said Brindisi. “Our bill will hold big social media companies like Facebook and Instagram accountable for the spread of graphic content on their platforms, and if these companies don’t deliver, the FTC will step in and make them. It shouldn’t take intervention from a member of Congress to stop families from being terrorized with violent images of their daughter’s murder. After everything they’ve been through, the Devins family deserves to know that they, and any other family, will never face this kind of abuse ever again. I’ll keep working on the federal level to get Bianca’s Law passed.”
Brindisi’s legislation will:
- Require all social media platforms with more than $10 million in revenue and more than 100,000 monthly users to establish an office dedicated to identifying and removing violent content that violates the platform’s content moderation standards
- Increase transparency by requiring social media companies to publicly report the phone number of their content moderation office, ensure the chief content moderator reports directly to the CEO of the company, and establish staff trainings and routine audits
- Empower the FTC and State Attorneys General to enforce these requirements and impose penalties on the companies if they do not comply
- Give social media companies an incentive to moderate their content by allowing for public-facing accountability
With roughly seven-in-ten Americans using social media, more than 3.6 billion users worldwide, and record profits for companies, social media platforms are critical parts of our global society and economy.
Following Bianca’s murder, Brindisi took action and began his advocacy on behalf of the Devins family. In August 2019, Brindisi called on Instagram to re-evaluate their graphic content policies and enforcement and called on the FTC to investigate Bianca’s case. In February 2020, Brindisi held a roundtable discussion with members of Congress and representatives from Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, Google, Reddit, and Tumblr. Brindisi grilled the companies on their content moderation policies and focused on ways Congress can help address gaps in communication and enforcement.
Full text of Bianca’s Law can be found HERE.