BuzzFeed published and later took down a graphic photo of a murdered woman. The photo was posted by her husband, Derek Medina, who admitted on Facebook that he killed her, according to BuzzFeed.
Medina “turned himself into police for the slaying of Jennifer Alfonso, 26, whose body was discovered,” the Miami Herald reported.
BuzzFeed included a screenshot of the message that it said Medina posted on Facebook admitting “Im going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife” along with the graphic photo. Medina’s Facebook post claimed that his “wife was punching me and I’m not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did.”
As BuzzFeed described it, the picture “showed a woman bent over backwards with her knees bent, her face and arm covered in blood.” The Miami Herald added that “it appears that she fell dead in front of the oven in the kitchen.”
BuzzFeed posted its original story around 4:30 p.m. Within four hours of publishing the graphic photo, BuzzFeed deleted the photo of the woman’s body (which iMediaEthics hasn’t seen) and had added an editor’s note at the bottom of the article. That editor’s note reads:
“Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article contained the photo Medina posted to Facebook. It has since been removed.”
Many readers complained on Facebook and Twitter about the photo. Shortly after publication, BuzzFeed had posted the article to both social media sites. On its Facebook page, BuzzFeed shared it with its more than 500,000 followers with the description “WARNING: Graphic image.”
Many commenters on the Facebook link slammed BuzzFeed for publishing the picture, but some rebutted the criticism noting that BuzzFeed warned readers and they decided to click the link.
But on Twitter, BuzzFeed didn’t include any warning to readers that the photo was NSFW or graphic, readers complained.
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Husband Confesses To Killing Wife, Posts Her Photo On Facebook http://t.co/XMT9RuyEPx
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) August 8, 2013
iMediaEthics has written to BuzzFeed asking why it published the photo and why it decided to take it down. We’ll update with any response.
Policy Mic called BuzzFeed’s publication of the photo “an all-time low,” and “one of the most disturbing and disgusting posts I have ever seen.”
Facebook, where Medina allegedly posted the photo, yanked the picture and Medina’s profile. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to MSN News that Facebook took the picture in question down and contacted authorities.
How are Other Outlets Handling the Photo?
iMediaEthics checked to see how other news outlets reporting on this story used the photo, if at all. We didn’t see any outlets using the photo.
NBC Miami, which BuzzFeed cited as a source of its reporting, included a blurred version of Medina’s Facebook page in a video report on Medina turning himself in.
The Daily Mail posted a heavily pixellated version of the photo.
The New York Daily News published a blurred version of the picture and included a note saying that it “decided not to include an uncensored version of the deeply disturbing image.”
UPDATE: 8/9/2013 8:08 AM EST: Added information about New York Daily News’ handling of the photo
UPDATE: 8/9/2013 5:27 PM EST: Both the New York Post and New York Daily News made the news about Medina a front-page story for their print editions. The stories directed to articles inside the paper featuring a blurred version of the photo.