Facebook has a challenge on their hands, tame the monster that they have created through live content. Look there is no denying it, video is going to be big and live content is going to be big. That is happening and nobody is going to stop it so if you are not getting into the video game even through Insta or Snapchat stories then you need to start thinking about it because you are creating a big vulnerability for yourself.
It has not been hard to find videos of violence, gore or death online for many years now. Sites such as LiveLeak are just one of many which host graphic content of various different natures. Despite the popularity of LiveLeak, it is safe to say that content like this has been hidden away in a not so hidden corner of the internet. You had to go looking for it specifically to find it.
LiveLeak is an incredibly popular website with high traffic and a predicted high revenue in turnover from that traffic but the thing about LiveLeak is that you are always searching for something. You don’t stumble across something unsavoury on there, if you are on LiveLeak you have an idea of what you could be in for.
However, Facebook live is changing the distribution of that graphic content and instead of searching for something of a graphic nature online it is now very much possible to stumble across something in your Facebook News Feed of a murder, someone being beaten in a public street or even torture.
Last week, two men and two women were arrested and face hate crime and kidnapping charges after they abducted and tortured a disabled man in Chicago. The broadcast the crime and their actions to thousands all over the world through Facebook live. For at least half an hour Brittany Covington filmed as her sister and friends bound a man and tortured him. The video went viral and incredibly it took Facebook time to review and decide to remove the video from the site.
This is the problem that Facebook is up against, it is not the first time there have been questions raised about Facebook Live and the content of streams. Facebook Live is trying to break down the barriers between audience and broadcaster and in there they find themselves in the problem they need to try and fix if they can.
Because you press the live button and get taken instantly to a live stream of what is happening, there is no way of reviewing what is going to be watched. With a click of a button, your live video is streamed all over the world before it can even be checked. On top of that, the video autoplays in your feed, so you don’t even need to interact with the clip, it is already there and playing right in front of you as you scroll past.
There is no doubt we will see many more instances like this over the coming year where outrage and anger is expressed over the content of live streams and really the only fix is for platforms offering the service to be on the ball. As soon as someone reports a stream it should be reviewed instantly and action should be taken if necessary.
With social platforms entering the age of live streaming it is clear they are creating beasts which are going to be very hard to tame. 2017 will be a busy year for policy update teams at social media platforms all over.