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On Air Murders Raise Questions About Social Media

Wednesday's on-air murders of a Virginia television reporter and cameraman are generating some discussion about social media.

The man who fatally shot Alison Parker and Adam West took graphic video of the killings and posted it on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

RIT Social media expert Mike Johansson says even though the sites quickly removed the video, it was first seen by users who shared it with others and was captured so that the graphic footage may be available indefinitely for anyone who takes the time to look for it.

"You would hope that common sense would prevail and they wouldn't want to keep bringing this up for people, but you don't know. It also brings up the issue, now that we have live streaming video on Periscope and Meerkat, the potential is there for some deranged person to tape something on live video and put it out there."

He said Facebook, Twitter and You Tube all have very clear policies against graphic and gratuitous content.  

"And I don't know there's anything else that they could actually do, other than rely on users of the services to point out that something inappropriate is there and for them to quickly take it down. Perhaps down the road, some software will be developed to detect gratuitous content and essentially prevent it from going up, but I don't think we're there yet."

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.