On Sunday, 3 men in Sweden were arrested on suspicion of raping a woman and streaming the assault live to a private Facebook group. The gang-rape took place in Uppsala, about an hour north of the capital, Stockholm, and has shocked the Nordic country.
On Monday at a press conference, authorities were urging social media users to turn over the footage to make them available to police.
“Police and prosecutors have access to some of the images and video footage,” Magnus Berggren, a prosecutor in Uppsala, said at a news conference, the Swedish newspaper Expressen reported. “What we do not have access to is the segment showing the actual assault.”
The film has been removed from Facebook but has been circulated on the internet.
Several viewers of the live broadcast reported the rape. Police officers went to an apartment shortly before 9am on Sunday and detained three men, 18, 20 and 24, at the apartment. They also found a woman og 30-year-old.
“We are gathering evidence, technical evidence, but also interviewing,” Mr. Berggren said at the news conference. “We have questioned a number of people and there will be more interviews.”
Swedish media have published excerpts of the footage, showing at least one of the suspects holding a revolver.
An online witness, Josefine Lundgren, 21, said she saw the victim being stripped and then sexually assaulted by several armed men and said that the attack only ended several hours later when police arrived and turned off the webcam. She told Sweden’s Expressen newspaper that the 24-year-old suspect, a repeat offender considered by police to be the main attacker, ‘tore the clothes off’ his victim before raping her. She added that the attacker also ‘had apparently filmed everything and took pictures that he put on Snapchat’.
Another person watching the stream said, “I first thought it was a poorly orchestrated joke.”
“The first thing you think is ‘how can you do such a thing to a girl? And how can you do it live when you know that you are going to go there? I think of course it is screwed, totally sick.” a former member of the closed group told the Expressen.
A police spokeswoman, Lisa Sannervik, said there were probably many copies of the stream. A police spokeswoman, Lisa Sannervik, said there were probably many copies of the stream. She said, “Many have seen this on the internet, and we are eager to prevent any spreading of the movie.”
In an email to AFP, a press spokesperson for Facebook in the Nordic countries denounced ‘a hideous crime’. He said, “Our teams work around the clock to review content that is being reported by users’ and Facebook cooperates systematically with police in criminal investigations.”
Swedish Television News reported that there might have been two live videos on Facebook, the first showing a rape and the second capturing a man trying to force a woman to deny that she had been raped.
Regional police have begun an investigation and forensic scientists are examining the apartment.
Over the past year, Facebook has made live, user-generated video a top priority. But the company’s push into live video has not been without disturbing occurrences.
On June last year, gang member Antonio Perkins, 28, unwittingly live streamed his own death on Facebook after he was shot dead in Chicago while using the real time video app.
Earlier this month, four black people were charged with a hate crime after a white man with learning difficulties was tortured on Facebook live. The gang shouted, ‘F*** Trump’ and ‘F*** white people’ during the attack, also in Chicago.