Facebook cautious ahead of Derek Chauvin trial verdict

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FILED - A demonstrator holds a portrait of George Floyd while raising his fist during a march against police brutality amid Derek Chauvin's trial in the downtown of Minneapolis. Photo: Henry Pan/ZUMA Wire/dpa

Facebook on Monday said it is preparing for potential violence ahead of the verdict in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with the murder of George Floyd.

The social media giant said it was preparing to identify and remove from its platforms calls to bring arms to areas in Minneapolis, the Minnesota city where the trial is taking place, which it has temporarily deemed a high-risk location.

“Our teams are working around the clock to look for potential threats both on and off of Facebook and Instagram so we can protect peaceful protests and limit content that could lead to civil unrest or violence,” Facebook said in a statement.

It also said it would take “extra steps to limit misinformation.”

The attorneys in Chauvin’s trial finished their closing arguments on Monday, turning over to jurors a case that triggered mass protests against racism and police violence in the United States. The outcome of the trial is hotly anticipated.

Chauvin, a white man, is facing charges including second-degree murder, which is punishable by up to 40 years in prison in the state of Minnesota.

Other charges include third-degree murder, which carries up to 25 years in prison, and second-degree manslaughter, which could earn him 10 years.

Floyd, a black man, died on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis after his arrest on suspicion of paying with a counterfeit 20-dollar-bill.

Prosecutors accuse Chauvin of being responsible for Floyd’s death while the former policeman’s defence has pointed to Floyd’s bad health and drug residues in his blood.

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