Facebook to remove some anti-Floyd posts ahead of verdict in Derek Chauvin trial

A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration
A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

April 19 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Monday it will remove content that praises, celebrates or mocks George Floyd’s death, as it prepares for an expected verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin - the former Minneapolis police officer facing murder charges for his death.

The company said it is looking for potential threats on both Facebook and Instagram to protect peaceful protests and will limit content that could lead to civil unrest or violence.

“This includes identifying and removing calls to bring arms to areas in Minneapolis, which we have temporarily deemed to be a high-risk location,” the social media firm wrote on a blog post. It will also monitor events on the ground to determine if additional locations will be deemed as temporary, high-risk locations.

"We are also working to protect the memory of George Floyd and members of the Floyd family from harassment and abuse."

Chauvin, who is white, pushed his knee into the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old handcuffed Black man, for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, outside a grocery store that had accused Floyd of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

A bystander's video of Floyd begging for his life before falling limp scandalized people around the world. An image of Floyd's face has since been elevated to an icon for the largest protest movement in the United States in decades.

Facebook said it considered Derek Chauvin a public figure, because he had "voluntarily" placed himself in the public eye and so would remove severe attacks. It said it considered Floyd an involuntary public figure and so would apply a higher level of protection to content about his death.

Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru and Elizabeth Culliford in New York; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.