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Activists mourn the loss of Vine app they say shined a spotlight on Ferguson

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Some on Twitter mourn the loss of the Vine app

Videos from the defunct Vine app captured protests, anger and frustration in Ferguson

Editor’s Note: Warning. A video in this story contains graphic language.

CNN —  

Antonio French arrived at the scene two years ago, soon after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, had been shot in Ferguson, Missouri. French stood in the crowd behind the barricade of police preventing people from getting closer to Brown, who lay dead in the street.

French, a north St. Louis City alderman, started tweeting what he saw. He tried to upload videos to his YouTube account but that took too long.

He remembered he had a little-used Vine account where he had posted only cute videos of his children. He began posting the six-second vines of the scene on Aug ust 9, 2014, on Canfield Drive, and posted more in the days that followed. They were among some of the earliest social media videos showing racial tensions in Ferguson.

The videos captured the protests, anger and frustration, such as one that showed people chanting “What do we want? Justice,” as they stood behind the line of officers down the road from where Brown was shot.

Vine, the app that Twitter said Thursday it was discontinuing, played a central role in helping activists like French and others shine a spotlight on the shooting of Brown by a white police officer and on racial tensions in Ferguson. The brief videos also gave voice to many black residents who were frustrated over the way they said police treated them.

Many journalists also used Vine to cover the shooting and protests that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement before the days of Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope and Facebook Live.