The Facebook Live video feature has been used by various entities of the entertainment industry, businesses, entrepreneurs and the general public in order to communicate with the masses. Unfortunately, it has also been used to showcase a number of illegal activities being committed in real time. This past Sunday, Steve Stephens posted a video of himself randomly shooting and killing Robert Godwin Sr., a 74 year old father of 9 and grandfather of 14 in Cleveland, Ohio. It was believed that the shooting was broadcast live, but Facebook has stated that the video was recorded and later uploaded to Steve’s account. Even so, Stephens did live-stream himself talking about this incident afterwards, and there have been other cases of people streaming attacks and abuse.
Questions of the Week:
Do you believe that the Facebook Live feature should be discontinued? What do you think about the viewing & sharing of graphic videos on social media?
Kat’s Take: The shooting we mentioned above actually took place 20-25 minutes away from where I live. I was so horrified about what happened that I was ready for Facebook Live to disappear forever. With that being said, I don’t mind having this feature available for entertainment industry and business pages. I do believe that since it has been abused so much we don’t need it on our personal pages. I get that Facebook isn’t aware of graphic videos being posted to its site until people report them, but the company has a major problem on its hands.
It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that people broadcast such horrible & illegal behavior on social media while others just watch and comment on it as if they’re viewing an episode of The Walking Dead. I was also genuinely shocked that people would share the last moments of someone’s life all over social media without regard for the victim’s family. It seems like the line between reality and fantasy has become blurred or nonexistent. It truly shows just how desensitized our society is now. The urge to go viral by any means necessary has become a goal for a lot of people. When did we turn into voyeurs with no conscience? Who or what is to blame for this backwards mindset? We can easily point the finger at reality shows, graphic video games, television shows and movies, but we have to take responsibility for it as well.
Matt’s Take: While these recent events have definitely been disturbing and reflect a deeply troubling aspect of society, I do not feel the live feature should be removed entirely. But I do think Facebook has an obligation to better monitor the content on their site and prevent offensive material from being streamed or shared. CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed this controversy recently at an annual conference and said that there will be significant improvements within a few years. I don’t feel that’s good enough. Facebook should be making this their top priority and implementing whatever changes they can immediately.