Vester Flanagan, the man who allegedly shot and killed journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward during a live WDBJ7 broadcast on Wednesday morning in Virginia, posted videos of the shooting on Twitter and Facebook, which quickly circulated on the social media sites. The Twitter and Facebook accounts were shut down soon after the posts went up, but because the videos were shared, they could still end up on your news feed. If you want to avoid seeing the journalists be fatally shot, you should turn off the autoplay settings on Twitter and Facebook so you don't accidentally see a video that automatically plays as you scroll through your news feed.
It's pretty simple to turn off video autoplay on the social media sites. On Twitter on your desktop, click on the square icon of your profile picture in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen, and go to "settings." Under the "content" heading, simply uncheck the box next to "video autoplay."
To also turn off autoplay on the Twitter iPhone app, click on "me" in the bottom-right-hand corner of the screen. Then, click on the settings gear symbol near your profile picture, and choose "settings." Go to "video autoplay" and choose "never play videos automatically."
To do the same on Facebook on your desktop, click on the downward arrow on the far right of the screen, next to the "home" button, and choose "settings." From there, go to the "videos" tab and change the "auto-play videos" setting from "default" to "off."
On Facebook's iPhone app, click on "more" on the bottom right of the screen. Then, click on "settings" and choose "account settings." Under the "videos and photos" tab, you can choose to either turn off video autoplay completely, or set it to only work on WiFi.
It may seem like a lot of trouble to avoid a few videos, but the content could be disturbing for some. Many journalists are also urging people not to watch the videos, as it just gives more power to the shooter. Parker and Ward didn't choose to become the journalists killed on live TV. Brennan Sommers, a WMBF News anchor, tweeted: "No one should ever see/show the video of the shooting again."
The best way to assure that you don't see the troubling video of the WDBJ7 shooting is to change all of your social media settings to disable video autoplay. Disabling autoplay will likely come in handy in the future, too, when other problematic videos circulate the Internet — as we all know they will.