The video, streamed Wednesday through Facebook live, showed the young man gagged and cut while his four attackers shouted "F**k Donald Trump! F**k white people!"
The incident comes as the social media platform has been running an advertising campaign encouraging members to use its streaming application to share moments like "hanging out with friends" or "when you see someone walking an animal that’s not a dog." The promotional push is attempting to compete with similar features on rival platforms like Instagram.
Some 16,000 people watched the disturbing 30-minute attack, prompting some to wonder why Facebook did not kill the feed, as they did during Korryn Gaines’ fatal 5-hour confrontation with Baltimore police in August 2016.
By the time the site took the video down it had already been ripped and shared on video-hosting site Youtube. Despite numerous requests for the video to be removed, Facebook will not comment on how many reports they received on the stream or how long it took them to decide to remove it, in spite of their purported community standards for live video, with a round-the-clock team "dedicated to responding to reports" immediately.
"We understand the unique challenges of live video. We know it’s important to have a responsible approach. That’s why we make it easy for people to report live videos to us as they’re happening," the document reads, adding that they consider "context and degree" when dealing with graphic and violent images in videos.
A Facebook spokeswoman released a statement claiming, "We do not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes on Facebook and have removed the original video for this reason. In many instances, though, when people share this type of content, they are doing so to condemn violence or raise awareness about it. In that case, the video would be allowed."
Reem Suleiman of SumOfUs, a group calling for more transparency in Facebook regulation told The Guardian, "I find it really hard to believe that not enough people reported it…I don’t want to speculate here, but we’ve had issues ourselves trying to get certain things taken down in the past."
The attackers, three of them 18 and the other 24, were charged with residential burglary, hate crimes, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson called the incident "sickening."