This story has been updated with a statement from Facebook.
During an hours-long standoff that culminated in the death of 23-year-old Korryn Gaines, Baltimore police asked Facebook to shut down her Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Officers arrived at Gaines’s home to serve her with a warrant for failing to appear in court for a traffic violation. When they entered her apartment, Gaines was allegedly aiming a shotgun at them and threatened to shoot. She was apparently recording the incident as it unfolded, posting the footage to Facebook and Instagram. Officers told the Associated Press that people were commenting on the videos and encouraging her to not comply with orders to stand down.
Gaines’ five-year-old son, Kodi, was injured during the shooting, but police have refused to say if one of their bullets struck him.
The incident has ignited a firestorm of criticism and speculation on social media, much of it aimed at the police, who were not wearing body cameras—despite the city’s launch of a body camera program a month ago—as well as at Facebook, for acquiescing to the deactivation request, which removed the possibility of Gaines’s final moments being captured on video.
— 3ChicsPolitico (@3ChicsPolitico) August 3, 2016
Less than a month ago, Facebook found itself in a similar position after a police officer shot and killed Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Shortly after Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend, had live-streamed video of the incident to her Facebook account, the footage disappeared. Facebook blamed the vanishing of the video on a “glitch,” and the video was restored later.
Fast Company is awaiting comment from Facebook regarding the deactivation of Gaines’s account.
UPDATE: Facebook declined to comment specifically on the events surrounding Gaines’s death, but pointed us to this statement in its policy for dealing with requests from law enforcement:
“In responding to a matter involving imminent harm to a child or risk of death or serious physical injury to any person and requiring disclosure of information without delay, a law enforcement official may submit a request through the Law Enforcement Online Request System at facebook.com/records. Important note: We will not review or respond to requests submitted by non-law enforcement officials. Users aware of an emergency situation should immediately and directly contact local law enforcement officials.”