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Social Media Sites Should Ban Images That 'Glamorize Violence,' Ald. Says

By Ted Cox | October 6, 2016 6:46pm
 The Twitter home page for rapper Chief Keef features a gun prominently.
The Twitter home page for rapper Chief Keef features a gun prominently.
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CITY HALL — A West Side alderman is out to deter guns on social media if not on Chicago streets.

Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) submitted a resolution at Wednesday's City Council meeting calling for a public hearing on images "glamorizing and encouraging the epidemic of gun violence" posted on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Citing the more than 500 murders and 3,000 people shot in the city this year, Mitts' resolution goes on to call for "all social-media platforms, including but not limited to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, Flickr and Vine" to "actively monitor their content" to "proactively remove content that glamorizes gratuitous violence."

The resolution calls for the sites to "promptly respond" to requests to remove such images, and change their terms of service "to prohibit the posting of images of guns and other weapons that glamorize violence."

It suggests that social media have "a moral obligation to ensure their responsible use."

Reports of gang violence triggered by Twitter and Facebook posts have been a common occurrence in recent years. The Police Department's John Escalante called it "the new gang graffiti" when he was interim superintendent earlier this year before retiring from the force. Police in Rogers Park have called it "technological kerosene."

Rapper Chief Keef has repeatedly landed in hot water in court over images of him holding guns while on probation. Keef's Twitter homepage features a picture of what appears to be an semiautomatic weapon.

The resolution was immediately endorsed by 45 of the Council's 50 aldermen and was assigned to the Public Safety Committee.

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