Social media under scrutiny after teens flood downtown Chicago, 1 killed

A violent weekend is reviving questions about the role of social media in crime.

Before a teenager was shot and killed near Millennium Park, Chicago police say social media posts drew large groups of teens downtown.

"I'm concerned, frankly, this particular one was from a ghost account, phony email, phony phone number, so we're working with social media platforms to identify and take down those kinds of sites," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

While police monitor social media activity, organizing a gathering is legal and what the sites are all about, according to attorney Daliah Saper.

"It's a great way to get that baseball team together or that band together or the parent club together. It can also be a place where you say meet us at Millennium Park," said Saper.


Social media sites are also getting push back after this weekend's massacre in Buffalo, New York. Police say the gunman livestreamed on Twitch as he killed 10 people and injured three more. Twitch said it took the video down within 2 minutes, but that didn't stop it being shared widely across many platforms.

"The alternative would be not having these platforms as a communication device period, which is not a realistic alternative. And on the other hand, how would you go about regulating this kind of behavior? It's almost impossible to predict when someone will go and livestream a heinous act," added Saper.

In Chicago, the head of security at Chicago Public Schools says one key tool in monitoring troubling activity online is kids themselves.

"They don't want to see what happens if someone gets hurt. They see this as their city as well," said Jadine Chou, Chief of Safety and Security at Chicago Public Schools.

Chicago will monitor social media sites, watching for the next potential problem spot and the mayor says they'll respond accordingly.