New York state lawmakers say subway surfing is still a click away on social media

Stephen Nessen

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Originally published in Gothamist on .
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More than two dozen state lawmakers say in a new letter that major social media companies are allowing subway surfing content to persist on their platforms, days after a 14-year-old died attempting to ride atop an F train in Brooklyn.

In the letter, state senators and assemblymembers wrote that the leaders of Instagram and Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok on Friday had failed to live up to previous pledges to remove subway surfing content.

“We are aware of public statements by your companies agreeing to restrict and remove ‘subway surfing’ content," the letter notes. "However, this content continues to proliferate on your platforms."

Last week, teenager Alam Reyes died riding atop an F train in Midwood. Witnesses said Reyes fell from the train and through the elevated tracks, landing on the street below. Alam’s half-brother told the Daily News that family members reviewed Reyes' social media accounts after his death and were surprised to discover he followed a number of subway surfing accounts.

“I was on Instagram a few days ago and randomly on my feed was a video of a kid subway surfing and this was a couple of days after we had learned of the last death from subway surfing,” the letter's author, state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, told Gothamist. “And I was incredibly disturbed that this was not just searchable but that it was randomly coming up on feeds.”

In September, the MTA and New York City Mayor Eric Adams said they had brokered a deal with social media companies to take down thousands of subway surfing videos. Last week, the MTA reported that 10,000 videos had since been removed from social media platforms.