- On Sunday 17-year-old Bianca Devins was murdered and her alleged killer posted graphic photos of her body online.
- He also posted cryptic and incriminating messages to his Instagram story and called police making comments alluding to both the murder and potential self-harm.
- He is being treated for serious injuries after slitting his neck and has been charged with second-degree murder.
- #RIPBianca began trending online, with people sharing condolences and speaking out about this type of violence.
Bianca Devins Killed
After a 17-year-old girl was murdered, graphic photos of her taken by her suspected killer circulated on online forums.
Bianca Devins was a micro-influencer in Utica, New York, who, according to reports, had around 6,000 followers at the time of her death. She was known as an e-girl who posted about video games and other online content.
In a statement, the Utica Police Department confirmed that she was killed on Sunday morning. According to authorities, she and a 21-year-old man went to a concert together on Saturday night. On the way back, they got into an argument, which continued until they arrived back in Utica early on Sunday.
The situation ended with the man pulling out a knife and stabbing Devins.
“During this time it is believed that he took and distributed photographs of the killing on the Discord platform,” the statement reads. “Members of Discord then viewed the images and posts and contacted the Utica Police Department. We can confirm that the images distributed of both the victim and the offender’s injuries are authentic and occurred at the time of the incident.”
According to other reports, the photos were also posted on Instagram and 4chan.
The man then called 911 himself making comments alluding to the murder, as well as comments about harming himself. When officers arrived at the scene, he began stabbing himself in the neck.
An officer also noticed a tarp at the scene, with brown hair sticking out from underneath.
“The male advised him that the female was beneath the tarp, and proceeded to pull out a cell phone,” the statement continues. “It was at this time that is believed that the male took self-photographs of himself laying across the deceased female.”
Officers were able to disarm the man, who was taken to the hospital with severe injuries but is expected to survive. He has been charged with second-degree murder.
The police investigation is ongoing and officers are still trying to figure out the nature of Devins’ relationship with the suspected killer. According to their statement, they met online two months ago. However, some reports have identified him as her boyfriend, some say he was a man who was obsessed with her, and others call him a family friend.
Devins’ family released a statement about the tragic news saying she “was a talented artist, a loving sister, daughter, and cousin, and a wonderful young girl, taken from us all too soon.”
“We are very grateful for the outpouring of love and sympathy we have received from our Friends, Family, Bianca’s Friends and the whole community,” the statement added. “Your prayers help to strengthen us through this difficult time.”
Photos Circulate Online
The story blew up on social media, with many focusing on the photos shared of the killing, as well as other social posts from the alleged murderer.
The photo of Devins that was posted to Discord was reportedly captioned with, “sorry fuckers, you’re going to have to find somebody else to orbit.” Orbiting is a phrase that refers to a “non-alpha male” who idolizes and pedestalizes a woman in hopes of pursuing her.
BuzzFeed News obtained screenshots of very cryptic messages he allegedly posted to his Instagram story that night. One included a quote from the movie Fight Club that says, “this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”
Another photo posted to his Instagram story said, “Here comes hell. It’s redemption, right?”
BuzzFeed News and the Washington Post obtained screenshots that allegedly came from his Discord and show him saying “subscribe to Pewdiepie.”
BuzzFeed News also obtained screenshots of his Instagram bio before his account was taken down. It was updated to include a lifespan that read “10/06/1997-7/14/19,” which notably marked Sunday as his date of death. It also said, “just know that I feel no pain now.”
Instagram gave a statement to Rolling Stone saying they removed his account.
“We have also taken steps to prevent others from re-uploading the content posted to that account to Instagram,” they added.
Discord also gave Rolling Stone a statement about the news.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this terrible situation,” their spokesperson said. “We are working closely with law enforcement to provide any assistance we can. In the meantime, our hearts go out to Bianca’s family and loved ones.”
#RIPBianca Trends Online
The story also created the hashtag #RIPBianca, which began trending on Twitter. People are using it to share their condolences and to speak out against violence of this nature.
Many are also commenting messages on Devins’ Instagram, which has gained over 100,000 followers, sharing messages of love and saying “Rest in Peace.”
However, the comment section has also brought out an ugly side of the Internet. Some users are commenting that they have the graphic photos available on their profile.
Others are fighting back against users victim-blaming Devins, claiming she “literally had it coming” for meeting men online and allegedly leading them on.
“What happened to bianca is absolutely sickening and the way the internet is responding is almost just as sick,” one comment reads.
“She didn’t deserve it or have it coming. she was a child,” said another.
Editors Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.
Google Investigates Top AI Researcher Who Was Looking Into a Previous Firing
- Google is investigating the co-leader of its Ethical AI team, Margaret Mitchell.
- While Mitchell has not been fired, her account has been locked because Google said she “exfiltrated thousands of files” and shared them with people outside of the company.
- In a tweet, Mitchell indicated that she had been “documenting current critical issues” related to the firing of another Google AI Ethicist in December.
- Sources reportedly told Axios that Mitchell had been specifically looking for messages that showed discriminatory treatment of that fired researcher.
Google Investigates Margaret Mitchell
On Tuesday, Google stated that it is now investigating the co-leader of its Ethical Al team, Margaret Mitchell.
Mitchell has reportedly not been fired, but her company email account has been locked.
According to Google, its security systems automatically lock employee accounts “when they detect that the account is at risk of compromise due to credential problems or when an automated rule involving the handling of sensitive data has been triggered.”
In this case, Google said Mitchell “exfiltrated thousands of files” and then shared them with people outside of the company.
Why Did Mitchell Begin Looking Through Files?
Mitchell’s investigation is related to the ousting of another top AI ethicist at Google, Timnit Gebru, who was fired at the beginning of December.
Before Gebru was fired, managers reportedly instructed her to withdraw an unpublished research paper upon her return from vacation. In an email to the internal listserv Google Brain Women and Allies, Gebru then voiced frustration at managers for allegedly making the decision without her input.
“You are not worth having any conversations about this, since you are not someone whose humanity (let alone expertise recognized by journalists, governments, scientists, civic organizations such as the electronic frontiers foundation etc) is acknowledged or valued in this company,” Gebru said in a critique of the decision.
Gebru’s firing led to such a massive outcry from Google employees that Google CEO Sundar Pichai pledged to investigate the situation.
On Friday, Mitchell indicated in a tweet that she was also looking into Gebru’s firing, saying that she was “documenting current critical issues from [Gebru’s] firing, point by point, inside and outside work.”
According to Axios, sources have said that Mitchell used automated scripts to siphon through messages that potentially document discriminatory treatment against Gebru.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Says Trump Ban Was the “Right Decision” But Sets “Dangerous” Precedent
- While defending Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, CEO Jack Dorsey noted the “dangerous” precedent such a move set.
- “Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation,” Dorsey said in a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday. “They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning.”
- Dorsey’s message came the same day Twitter fully reinstated Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Co.) account, hours after locking it for violating Twitter rules. A Twitter spokesperson later described the lock as an “incorrect enforcement action.”
Dorsey Describes Trump Ban as a Double-Edged Sword
In a lengthy Twitter thread published Wednesday, CEO Jack Dorsey defended his platform’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, while also noting the “dangerous” precedent such a unilateral move sets.
Twitter made the decision to ban Trump on Jan. 8, two days after pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol complex in an assault that left multiple dead.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban [Trump] from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey said in the first of 13 tweets.
Nonetheless, Dorsey described Trump’s ban as “the right decision for Twitter.”
“Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he added.
“That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey continued.
“[It] sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”
Dorsey described most bans as a failure of Twitter to “promote healthy conversation,” though he noted that exceptions to such a mindset also exist. Among other failures, Dorsey said extreme actions like a ban can “fragment public conversation,” divide people, and limit “clarification, redemption, and learning.”
Dorsey: Trump Bans Were Not Coordinated
Dorsey continued his thread by addressing claims and criticism that Trump’s ban on Twitter violated free speech.
“A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same,” he said.
Indeed, multiple legal experts have stated that Trump’s ban on social media does not amount to First Amendment violations, as the First Amendment only addresses government censorship.
“If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service,” Dorsey added. However, Dorsey noted that such a concept has been challenged over the past week.
This moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet. A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same.— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
Trump has now been banned or suspended from a number of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. On Wednesday, Snapchat announced plans to terminate Trump’s account in the “interest of public safety.” Previously, Snapchat had only suspended his account, but as of Jan. 20, it will be permanently banned.
Addressing criticism of the swift bans handed down by these platforms in the wake of the Capitol attack, Dorsey said he doesn’t believe Trump’s bans on social media were coordinated.
“More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others,” he said.
Twitter Reverses Course of Locking Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Account
Dorsey’s thread regarding the fragile nature of regulating users’ privileges on the platform seemed to play out earlier the same day.
On Wednesday, newly-elected Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) posted a screenshot to Instagram showing that her Twitter account had been locked for six days. The screenshot stated that she had violated Twitter’s rules and would be unable to tweet, retweet, or like until her account was unlocked.
Hours later, Twitter reversed course and fully reinstated her account.
“In this instance, our teams took the incorrect enforcement action. The Tweet in question is now labeled in accordance with our Civic Integrity Policy. The Tweet will not be required to be removed and the account will not be temporarily locked,” a spokesperson for the platform told Insider.
It is unknown what tweet caused that initial ban, as Twitter refused to say.
The latest tweet from Boebert’s account to be tagged with a fact check warning is from Sunday. In that tweet, she baselessly and falsely accuses the DNC of rigging the 2020 Election, a claim that largely inspired the Capitol attacks.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (CNN) (Associated Press)
Uber and Lyft Drivers Sue To Overturn California’s Prop 22
- A group of Uber and Lyft drivers filed a lawsuit Tuesday against California’s controversial Prop 22, a ballot measure that was approved by nearly 59% of state voters in the 2020 election.
- While Prop 22 does promise drivers wage guarantees and health insurance stipends, it also eliminated some protections as well as benefits like sick pay and workers’ compensation.
- In their lawsuit, the drivers argue that Prop 22 “illegally” prevents them from being able to access the state’s workers’ compensation program.
What’s in the Lawsuit?
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, a group of Uber and Lyft drivers asked California’s Supreme Court to overturn the state’s controversial Prop 22 ballot measure.
The drivers behind the lawsuit, along with Service Employees International Union, allege that Prop 22 “illegally” bars them from being able to participate in the state’s workers’ compensation program.
Additionally, they argue that the measure violates California’s constitution by“stripping” the state legislature of its ability to protect who unionize.
“Every day, rideshare drivers like me struggle to make ends meet because companies like Uber and Lyft prioritize corporate profits over our wellbeing,” Plaintiff Saori Okawa said in a statement.
Conversely, Uber driver and Prop 22 activist Jim Pyatt denounced the lawsuit, saying,“Voters across the political spectrum spoke loud and clear, passing Prop 22 in a landslide. Meritless lawsuits that seek to undermine the clear democratic will of the people do not stand up to scrutiny in the courts.”
California ballot measures have been occasionally repealed in the past; however, most of the time, they’ve only been repealed following subsequent ballot measures. If this lawsuit fails, such an initiative would likely be the last option for overturning Prop 22.
What is Prop 22?
Prop 22, which was approved by 59% of state voters in the 2020 Election, exempts app-based transportation and delivery companies from having to classify their drivers as employees. Rather, those drivers are listed as “independent contractors,” also known as gig workers.
Notably, Prop 22 was supported by major industry players like DoorDash, Uber, Lyft, and Instacart, which launched a massive $200 million lobbying and advertising campaign.
While those companies did promise wage guarantees and health insurance stipends for drivers, Prop 22 also eliminated a number of protections and benefits drivers would have seen under an “employee” status, including sick pay and workers’ compensation.
Because of that, many opponents have argued that the measure incentivizes companies to lay off their employees in favor of cheaper labor options.
Last week, it was reported that grocery stores like Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions began laying off their delivery workers in favor of switching to ”third-party logistics providers.” According to Albertson’s, unionized delivery workers were not included in the layoffs.
In recent coverage from KPBS, one San Diego Vons delivery worker detailed a situation in which he and delivery workers were called into a meeting with management.
“I thought they were going to give us a bonus or a raise or something like that,” he said.
Ultimately, that employee was told he would be losing his job in late February, even though he had been with the company for two-and-a-half years.
“I didn’t want to tell them,” the employee said of his parents, one of whom is disabled. “I’m the breadwinner for the family.”