- Bianca Devins was murdered 2 years ago, and graphic images of her body circulated on social media.
- Her mother, Kim Devins, is campaigning to hold social media platforms accountable with Bianca’s Law.
- Bianca’s story has gained new attention due to the involvement of YouTuber Gabbie Hanna.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Bianca Devins was 17 years old when she was murdered on July 14, 2019. She lived with mental health issues, including borderline personality disorder, but found solace by building friendships through various social media platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, 4chan, and Discord. Brandon Andrew Clark was one of many people Devins met online.
In February 2020, Clark pled guilty to Bianca’s murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. At the time, prosecutors argued that he killed her in a fit of jealousy after seeing her kiss another man, and posted graphic images of her body to his Instagram story and to a Discord server. It’s these images that still haunt the Devins family.
“The trauma that this has caused our family is just indescribable,” Kim Devins, Bianca’s mother, told Insider, explaining that the family is frequently sent the images from strangers and tagged in social media accounts that use them as their profile pictures. Now, she’s campaigning to hold platforms accountable for the spread of such images.
Bianca Devins’ death recently got renewed attention after YouTubers Gabbie Hanna and Angelika Oles went to war over a video Hanna made briefly referencing Bianca in February 2020. The pair had heated exchanges on social media and posted several videos about it, but Kim sees them as a distraction from the important issues.
“I have more important things to worry about than YouTube drama,” Kim said. “I lost my daughter. We’re coming up on her second anniversary, I’m raising her siblings, and trying to get it so that this never happens again, that these pictures of Bianca can’t be put on the internet, and that no one else has to go through this.”
Kim Devins is campaigning to hold social media platforms and online trolls accountable for the spread of the images
Kim said that Instagram and Facebook assured her the graphic images in question have a “digital fingerprint” that automatically alerts the platform and prevents them from being uploaded. But Kim says she continues to be confronted by them. On Facebook, Insider found the graphic images in the fourth highest post when searching Bianca’s name. Kim told Insider that as recently as Father’s Day this year, when she tried to Google an image of her father, a graphic photo of Bianca was in the thumbnail. A Google image search of Bianca’s name yielded the graphic images as some of the top results.
“We hope the worst is over now, but we’re still fighting to get [the images] taken down,” Devins said. “Facebook and Instagram were negligent in the fact that this has been uploaded and shared so many times.”
Stephanie Otway, a spokesperson for Facebook, told Insider, “What happened to Bianca was a tragedy and our hearts continue to go out to the Devins family. Since Bianca’s death, we’ve removed graphic images of her from Facebook and Instagram as quickly as possible. We acknowledge that we fell short in stopping the spread of these images at the time of her death, and we’ve worked hard to improve our technology since then.”
Instagram did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Bianca’s Law, which Devins hopes will be introduced both as a New York State law and federal law, would make the spreading of such “violent and graphic” pictures a criminal offense, and force social media platforms to develop software that would detect them before they were uploaded and shared. The law would also require all major social media platforms to establish a “crisis department” to respond in real time to victims’ families.
The idea came about in August 2019 following the continual spread of images of Bianca on social media and the Devins family’s correspondence with their congressional representative at the time, Anthony Brindisi. While Brindisi introduced Bianca’s Law into the 116th Congress term, the loss of his seat in the 2020 election means it would need to be re-introduced. The online petition to do so currently has over 37,000 signatures.
“Right now, we’re just trying to reach out to as many people as we can in Congress to make them aware of this Bill.”
For Devins, Bianca’s Law is one of many ways she is honoring her daughter’s memory and legacy
“I want Bianca’s legacy to be the light that she brought into this world,” Devins said. “Bianca was just such a kind person. She always tried to help others.”
As part of honoring Bianca’s dedication to help others, the Devins family also launched the Bianca Michelle Devins Memorial Scholarship Fund to help fund students studying psychology and counseling degrees “in order to continue Bianca’s dream of helping those with mental illnesses.” Before she died, Bianca was enrolled to study psychology at a community college in the fall.
Two years on from Bianca’s passing, Devins is determined that Bianca’s legacy will continue to inspire people for years to come. She said, “Her light is never going to dim because she left a really good impact on a lot of people.”