DEAR HARRIETTE: Someone sent me a Facebook message that included a disturbing video. Her preface was that it was horrible and that we, the people she had sent it to, should watch it and share it broadly. I rarely follow these kinds of directions, but I was compelled to watch the video. I am so sorry that I did. The video featured an infant being slapped, beaten and ultimately strangled. It was in close-up and not fake. It was the most horrible thing I have ever seen.
I wrote to the woman who sent it, telling her she needed to report it to the police immediately. When I went back to see if she responded, the whole post was gone. Maybe Facebook took it down. I don’t know. Is there anything else I should have done? I really wish that woman hadn’t posted that video. I can’t get it out of my mind. -- Horror on Social Media
DEAR HORROR ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Some things should never happen, let alone be seen. What you have described is a heinous crime that should never have been posted on Facebook -- or anywhere else. It is likely that Facebook took it down on its own.
What you could have done is to report the video yourself to Facebook by looking for their reporting link. Then you could call the police and point them to what you saw.
According to an article by journalist Kellie Cowan, "Suspicious content should be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The agency has a secure cyber tip line (missingkids.com/gethelpnow/cybertipline) or you can call 1-800-843-5678. It will alert the right people while ensuring a tipster stays on the right side of the law and is not unwittingly re-victimizing the child by spreading images of their abuse."