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YouTube facing questions after beheading video remained online for hours: The Morning Rundown, Feb. 1, 2024

Feb 1

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Questions about YouTube’s policies are being raised after a graphic video related to a murder case in Pennsylvania is left up for hours. And three people are killed and several more injured when a building collapses near an airport in Idaho. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024.

YouTube video connected to PA murder remained online for hours

YouTube’s policies are being questioned after it was discovered that a graphic video involving a case of a son accused of beheading his father was left on the video-sharing site for hours. Police in Pennsylvania charged 32-year-old Justin Mohn on Wednesday, Jan. 31, with first-degree murder and abusing a corpse.

Authorities said Mohn killed his father and then posted a graphic 14-minute video about the murder on YouTube, showing the severed head. Police said the video was uploaded about 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, and remained online for anyone to see for about five hours.

The graphic video was viewed more than 5,000 times before it was eventually taken down. A social media advocacy group told the Associated Press this is “another example of the blatant failure of these companies to protect us.”

Critics have accused YouTube and other social media platforms of not investing in their trust and safety teams. YouTube’s policies were put under the microscope while five social media CEOs were questioned during a Congressional hearing about child safety online.

Representatives for YouTube and its parent company, Google, were not in attendance. YouTube responded to the criticism.

“YouTube has strict policies prohibiting graphic violence and violent extremism. The video was removed for violating our graphic violence policy, and Justin Mohn’s channel was terminated in line with our violent extremism policies,” the company said in a statement. “Our teams are closely tracking to remove any re-uploads of the video.”

YouTube said it uses a combination of artificial intelligence and human moderators to monitor its platform.

Zuckerberg apologizes to families at online child safety hearing

CEOs from five social media companies testified at a Congressional hearing concerning online child safety measures on Wednesday, Jan. 31. CEOs from Meta, TikTok, X, Snapchat, and Discord answered questions from lawmakers about the role their platforms play in the lives of young users, and how social media has led to children suicides and exploitation.

In one key moment in the hearing, Sen. Josh Hawley asked Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg if he apologized to the victims and their families.

“Let me ask you this. There are families of victims here today. Have you apologized to the victims? Would you like to do so now? They’re here, you’re on national television,” Hawley said. “Would you like now to apologize to the victims who’ve been harmed by your product? Show him the pictures. Would you like to apologize for what you’ve done to these good people?”

Zuckerberg then stood up and turned around to address the families directly.

“No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered. And this is why we’ve invested so much and are going to continue doing industry-leading efforts to make sure no one has to go through the types of things that your families have had to suffer,” Zuckerberg said.

It is unclear if the hearing will lead to any type of legislation, though lawmakers are working on bipartisan bills. You can find Lauren Taylor’s full report on the hearing here.

House passes $78 billion bipartisan tax bill increasing child tax credit

In a bipartisan vote on Wednesday evening, Jan. 31, the House overwhelmingly approved a $78 billion tax cut package, increasing the child tax credit for millions of lower-income families. The bill passed 357-70 and now moves on to the Senate.

Along with expanding the child tax credit, the package also restores business tax breaks related to research and development. Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., called the bill “important” legislation and added that this was “a good example of how Congress is supposed to make law.”

While Republicans and Democrats came together on the bill, not everyone got what they hoped for. Several New York Republicans were looking for it to include state and local tax deduction limits. And while some Republicans said the bill expanded the child tax credit too much, some Democrats said it did not.

3 dead in building collapse near Boise airport

Three people were killed and at least nine others were injured when a building under construction collapsed on Wednesday night, Jan. 31, near the Boise, Idaho airport. The deadly incident occurred at a privately owned steel hangar on airport property. The fire chief called the collapse “catastrophic.” Officials said three victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Five of the injured were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Officials said the building’s collapse caused a crane to fall but did not impact the airport. The cause of the collapse is under investigation.

Judge throws out Disney’s lawsuit against DeSantis and Florida’s Commerce Dept.

A federal judge threw out Walt Disney Company’s lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the secretary of Florida’s Commerce Department. Disney sued DeSantis, alleging that he retaliated against the company after it criticized the Parental Rights in Education Act, known to critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law backed by DeSantis.

On Wednesday, Jan. 31, Judge Allen Winsor tossed the case out, ruling that Disney’s allegations failed on merit. Disney claims that, following its public opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” DeSantis retaliated by dissolving a special district in Orlando that governed Disney World for more than 50 years.

Last year, Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature changed the district, renaming it the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, with its board members now selected by Gov. DeSantis and then must be confirmed by the state Senate.

Shortly after its creation, the district voted to throw out a development agreement between Disney and the previous board known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Disney also canceled its plans to build a $1 billion campus in Orlando.

In its lawsuit, Disney alleged DeSantis is punishing the company for exercising its First Amendment rights. Disney said it would appeal Judge Winsor’s ruling.

A spokesperson for DeSantis said the ruling said, “The federal court’s decision made it clear that Governor DeSantis was correct: Disney is still just one of many corporations in the state, and they do not have a right to their own special government.”

The federal lawsuit is separate from Disney’s state lawsuit against the new tourism district for terminating its previous agreement with the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

Donations pour in to replace stolen Jackie Robinson statue

There has been an outpouring of support to replace a symbol honoring one of baseball’s greats. On what would have been Jackie Robinson’s 105th birthday, donations poured in Wednesday, Jan. 31, to replace a statue of the baseball hall of famer who broke the major league’s color barrier in 1947.

The statue at a park in Kansas was stolen last week, with vandals leaving only the feet. Parts of the statue were later found burned and dismantled.

One online fundraiser has raised over $156,000, surpassing the statue’s estimated value of $75,000. Major League Baseball has announced it will replace the statue and provide funding for a local youth baseball league called “League 42,” named after Robinson’s uniform number.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUTUBE’S POLICIES ARE BEING RAISED —

AFTER A GRAPHIC VIDEO RELATED TO A MURDER CASE IN PENNSYLVANIA IS LEFT UP FOR HOURS.

AND — THREE PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND SEVERAL MORE INJURED WHEN A BUILDING COLLAPSED NEAR AN AIRPORT IN IDAHO.

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1ST.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M LAUREN TAYLOR.

THIS MORNING – YOUTUBE’S POLICIES ARE BEING QUESTIONED — AFTER IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT A GRAPHIC VIDEO INVOLVING A CASE OF A SON ACCUSED OF BEHEADING HIS FATHER WAS LEFT ON THE VIDEO-SHARING SITE FOR HOURS.

POLICE IN PENNSYLVANIA CHARGED 32-YEAR-OLD JUSTIN MOHN ON WEDNESDAY WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER AND ABUSING A CORPSE.

AUTHORITIES SAYING MOHN KILLED HIS FATHER AND THEN POSTED A GRAPHIC 14-MINUTE VIDEO ABOUT THE MURDER ON YOUTUBE — SHOWING THE SEVERED HEAD.

POLICE SAY THE VIDEO WAS UPLOADED ABOUT 10 P-M TUESDAY – AND REMAINED ONLINE FOR ANYONE TO SEE FOR ABOUT FIVE HOURS.

IT WAS VIEWED MORE THAN 5-thousand TIMES BEFORE IT WAS EVENTUALLY TAKEN DOWN.

A SOCIAL MEDIA ADVOCACY GROUP — TELLING THE ASSOCIATED PRESS — THIS IS “ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE BLATANT FAILURE OF THESE COMPANIES TO PROTECT US.”

CRITICS HAVE ACCUSED YOUTUBE AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS OF NOT INVESTING IN THEIR TRUST AND SAFETY TEAMS.

YOUTUBE’S POLICIES WERE BEING PUT UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT – JUST AS FIVE SOCIAL MEDIA CEOS WERE BEING QUESTIONED DURING A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ABOUT CHILD SAFETY ONLINE.

REPRESENTATIVES FOR YOUTUBE AND ITS PARENT COMPANY “GOOGLE” — WERE NOT IN ATTENDANCE.

YOUTUBE HAS RESPONDED TO THE CRITICISM – SAYING IN A STATEMENT:

YouTube has strict policies prohibiting graphic violence and violent extremism. The video was removed for violating our graphic violence policy and Justin Mohn’s channel was terminated in line with our violent extremism policies. Our teams are closely tracking to remove any re-uploads of the video.”

YOUTUBE SAYS IT USES A COMBINATION OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND HUMAN MODERATORS TO MONITOR ITS PLATFORM.

AS MENTIONED – CEOS FROM FIVE SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES TESTIFIED AT A CONGRESSIONAL HEARING CONCERNING ONLINE CHILD SAFETY MEASURES ON WEDNESDAY.

CEOS FROM META, TIKTOK, X, SNAPCHAT, AND DISCORD ANSWERED QUESTIONS FROM LAWMAKERS — ABOUT THE ROLE THEIR PLATFORMS PLAY IN THE LIVES OF YOUNG USERS – AND HOW SOCIAL MEDIA HAS LED TO CHILDREN SUICIDES AND EXPLOITATION.

IN ONE KEY MOMENT IN THE HEARING – SENATOR JOSH HAWLEY ASKED META CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG IF HE HAD APOLOGIZED TO THE VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

SUPER: SEN. JOSH HAWLEY | R-MO: “Let me ask you this. There are families of victims here today. Have you apologized to the victims? Would you like to do so now? They’re here, you’re on national television. Would you like now to apologize to the victims who’ve been harmed by your product? Show him the pictures. Would you like to apologize for what you’ve done to these good people?”

ZUCKERBERG THEN STOOD UP AND TURNED AROUND TO DIRECTLY ADDRESS THE FAMILIES.

SUPER: MARK ZUCKERBERG | META CEO: “No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered. And this is why we’ve invested so much and are going to continue doing industry leading efforts to make sure no one has to go through the types of things that your families have had to suffer.”

IT’S NOT CLEAR IF THE HEARING WILL LEAD TO ANY TYPE OF LEGISLATION – THOUGH LAWMAKERS ARE WORKING ON BIPARTISAN BILLS.

YOU CAN FIND MY FULL REPORT ON THE HEARING — NOW — ON SAN-DOT-COM.

IN A BIPARTISAN VOTE WEDNESDAY EVENING, THE HOUSE OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVED A $78 BILLION DOLLAR TAX CUT PACKAGE — INCREASING THE CHILD TAX CREDIT FOR MILLIONS OF LOWER-INCOME FAMILIES.

THE BILL PASSED 357 TO 70 AND NOW MOVES ON TO THE SENATE.

ALONG WITH EXPANDING THE CHILD TAX CREDIT — THE PACKAGE  ALSO RESTORES BUSINESS TAX BREAKS — RELATED TO RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT.

SPEAKER MIKE JOHNSON CALLED THE BILL – “IMPORTANT” LEGISLATION — SAYING THIS WAS “A GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW CONGRESS IS SUPPOSED TO MAKE LAW.”

WHILE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS CAME TOGETHER ON THE BILL — NOT EVERYONE GOT WHAT THEY HOPED FOR.

SEVERAL NEW YORK REPUBLICANS — WERE LOOKING FOR IT TO INCLUDE STATE AND LOCAL TAX DEDUCTION LIMITS.

AND — WHILE SOME REPUBLICANS SAY THE BILL EXPANDS THE CHILD TAX CREDIT TOO MUCH —

SOME DEMOCRATS SAY THE BILL DID NOT EXPAND IT ENOUGH.

THREE PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND AT LEAST NINE OTHERS WERE INJURED WHEN A BUILDING UNDER CONSTRUCTION COLLAPSED WEDNESDAY NIGHT NEAR THE BOISE IDAHO AIRPORT.

THE DEADLY INCIDENT OCCURRED AT A PRIVATELY OWNED STEEL HANGAR ON AIRPORT PROPERTY.

THE FIRE CHIEF CALLING THE COLLAPSE  – “CATASTROPHIC.”

OFFICIALS SAY THREE VICTIMS WERE PRONOUNCED DEAD AT THE SCENE.

FIVE OF THE INJURED WERE TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL IN CRITICAL CONDITION.

INVESTIGATORS SAY THE BUILDING’S COLLAPSE CAUSED A CRANE TO FALL, BUT DID NOT IMPACT THE AIRPORT.

THE CAUSE OF THE COLLAPSE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS THROWN OUT THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY’S LAW SUIT AGAINST FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS.

DISNEY SUED DESANTIS SAYING — IT’S FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED — ALLEGING THAT DESANTIS RETALIATED AGAINST THE COMPANY — AFTER IT CRITICIZED THE “PARENTAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION” BILL — WHICH WAS DUBBED BY CRITICS AS THE “DON’T SAY GAY” LAW.

ON WEDNESDAY — A FEDERAL JUDGE DISMISSED THE CASE — RULING THAT DISNEY’S ALLEGATIONS “FAIL ON MERITS.”

DISNEY CLAIMS THAT — FOLLOWING ITS OPPOSITION TO THE BILL —  DESANTIS RETALIATED BY DISSOLVING A SPECIAL DISTRICT IN ORLANDO THAT GOVERNED DISNEY WORLD FOR MORE THAN 50 YEARS.

LAST YEAR, FLORIDA’S REPUBLICAN-CONTROLLED LEGISLATURE MADE CHANGES TO THE DISTRICT — WITH ITS BOARD MEMBERS NOW SELECTED BY THE GOVERNOR.

DISNEY HAS SINCE CANCELED ITS PLANS TO BUILD A 1-BILLION DOLLAR OFFICE COMPLEX IN ORLANDO.

DISNEY SAYS IT WILL APPEAL THE JUDGE’S RULING.

FINALLY THIS MORNING – THERE’S BEEN AN OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT TO REPLACE A SYMBOL HONORING ONE OF BASEBALL’S GREATS.

ON WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN JACKIE ROBINSON’S 105TH BIRTHDAY – DONATIONS POURED IN WEDNESDAY TO REPLACE A STATUE OF THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAMER WHO BROKE THE MAJOR LEAGUE’S COLOR BARRIER IN 1947.

THE STATUE AT A PARK IN KANSAS WAS STOLEN LAST WEEK – VANDALS LEAVING ONLY THE FEET. PARTS OF THE STATUE WERE LATER FOUND BURNED AND DISMANTLED.

ONE ONLINE FUNDRAISER HAS RAISED MORE THAN 156 THOUSAND DOLLARS – SURPASSING THE STATUE’S ESTIMATED 75 THOUSAND VALUE.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL HAS ANNOUNCED IT WILL REPLACE THE STATUE – AND PROVIDE FUNDING FOR A LOCAL YOUTH BASEBALL LEAGUE – CALLED LEAGUE 42 – NAMED AFTER ROBINSON’S UNIFORM NUMBER.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS THURSDAY.

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WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M LAUREN TAYLOR. HAVE A GREAT DAY!