Facebook Makes Subjective Decisions On Keeping Violent Live Streams Up

Facebook Live Video has given users the opportunity to experience events in real-time, however as this utility has enhanced the way we receive our news, it has also posed ethical challenges to Facebook developers.  In light of the police shooting of Philando Castile, whose death was live-streamed on Facebook by his wife, Facebook management has been faced with important decisions regarding the basis on which they will allow or take down violent live video content in the future.

We are huge fans of the development of Facebook live video because it allows users to receive news right as events are occurring. That being said, as the feature continues to popularize, it has become increasingly important for Facebook management to set strict standards surrounding the use of live video. In this article, Facebook states that it will allow violent live video that spreads awareness or helps identify a perpetrator, but it will take down any live video that mocks the victim or glorifies the killing. Facebook’s decision seems fair. Since Facebook could see the presence of similar sensitive video content as a potential PR disaster, it is respectable of Facebook to make the decision to allow this content to remain on Facebook in order to spread awareness and to continue the conversation surrounding police brutality. 

As we’ve noted before, social media has been playing many roles in the tragic events our country has been plagued with recently. From real-time updates to trends in solidarity, people expect to find information online. It will be interesting to see how Facebook live video will fit in with the other existing features and help disseminate news in the future.