Facebook Live | Video content is dominating the internet. Facebook Live makes it easy for users to broadcast memorable moments. However, there’s a dark side to Facebook Live.

The Curious Case of Facebook Live

This post is part of the Tech Tuesday series. You can view more posts >> HERE.

Video is everywhere on the internet. It started with YouTube in early 2005. Now people are viewing more video content than ever. Brands are using video to promote their products or services. People (regular users) are using video to share important moments of their lives. Facebook Live launched on April 6, 2016 for everyone. This feature allows any Facebook user to broadcast live to anyone through the Facebook mobile app.

Since the launch of Facebook Live, brands and celebrities have used the feature countless times. I’ve watched interviews with journalists and behind the scenes footage from movie sets. News organizations have also benefited from the Live feature. Have you seen any behind the scenes footage from your local TV news shows? I’ve watched live weather broadcasts during stormy nights and even been there to see a new morning anchor introduced to the world — all on Facebook Live.

In addition, my friends and family have shared numerous moments with their networks. I’ve watched music concerts, church services, little league ball games, traffic reports, comedy routines and more from all over the world. Those are the good things about Facebook Live. There are many positive reasons to use the feature and a variety of uplifting and/or humorous videos on Facebook. However, Facebook Live has a dark side.

I’ll be the first to say it. Facebook Live is getting out of control. We have a problem. People are broadcasting the bad moments in life as well. I’m sure you’re aware of several live videos depicting crimes or illegal acts that have been shared and viewed on Facebook. Was this how Facebook meant people to use their video product?

3 Recent Facebook Live Incidents

1…The live broadcast of the aftermath of the shooting of Philando Castile. His girlfriend used Facebook Live to document the police shooting of her boyfriend last July. Castile died from his injuries. The world watched as Mr. Castile’s girlfriend reacted to the shooting as she streamed on her Facebook account. People were outraged and shared the video thousands of times.

2…A witness live streamed the shooting of a Little Rock (AR) teen earlier this year. The teen survived the ordeal. He was last reported in critical condition. There was a lot of uproar over the fact that the witness pulled out his phone – not to call the police or 911 – but to put the incident on Facebook Live. Again, this video was shared thousands of times. What has our society come to?

3…The latest horrific incident is from this past Easter Weekend, when a Cleveland (OH) man live streamed the brutal murder of Robert Godwin, Sr. Although, I didn’t see the Facebook Live video, I can only imagine what the family is going through. People seeing their father/grandfather shot as the video is shared across the internet. It’s so sad. This could have been my father or your father or grandfather. What possessed the suspect to live stream this crime? What did he hope to gain from showing this heinous act? Facebook Live was available, convenient and easy.

There are numerous other terrible acts live streamed on Facebook, everything from fist fights to gang rapes to suicides. People are filming all kinds of madness with the touch of button, thanks to Facebook. People not only watching these videos, but sharing them as well.

Facebook Live is easy

Facebook wants people to use the “Live” feature. They recently created TV commercials explaining how easy it is to start a broadcast. They paid money…to air this commercial…to a national audience. They launched a major marketing campaign last fall to promote the live-streaming product.  It’s a top priority for the company. They are essentially encouraging people to live broadcast.

RELATED: Facebook is making a big push to get people using Facebook Live {recode}

What can be done about Facebook Live?

Just today, Mark Zuckerberg discussed Facebook Live at the F8 Developers Conference in San Jose, CA. He noted the Cleveland incident from Easter Sunday and stated that social media is part of building community. He included that Facebook will focus on bringing people closer together and help “keep our community safe. There’s work to be done.”

Video content is dominating the internet. Facebook Live makes it easy for users to broadcast memorable moments. However, there’s a dark side to Facebook Live.

photo courtesy of Facebook for Developers Facebook Live stream

“We will keep doing all we can to keep tragedies like this [the incident in Cleveland] from happening.” ~Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2017

It’s good to know that Facebook recognizes the problem. I hope they devote time and effort into preventing these tragic events from being broadcast on their platform.

In closing, video content is not going anywhere. It will continue to dominate the news feeds on several social media platforms. As more people watch videos there should be safe guards in place to prevent violent acts [filmed live] from being shared thus going viral. With the humorous amount of video on the internet, safeguarding content will be a monumental effort. As users of these social networks, we can be cognizant of not only what we choose to watch and share, but also what we choose to broadcast.

What do you think? Does Facebook Live have a problem? How are you using and consuming Facebook Live content? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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RamonaThe Curious Case of Facebook Live

Comments 26

  1. Ashleigh

    I definitely agree that Facebook live has gotten crazy. Between murders, beatings, suicides, and everything else being depicted it’s beyond out of hand. Not really sure how Facebook can regulate that without taking away the live aspect of it but I hope something is figured out soon.

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  2. Stacie

    You know, I have shared a few concerts on fb live but I agree it’s getting out of hand. I feel like people plot to do wrong on fb live to go viral.

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  3. Marsha

    I think that so long as you give people a means to get attention, good or bad, they will use it. It will be impossible to prevent people from going live with negative or violent videos but I think if they make it so viewers can report it immediately as such and FB takes it down, it may cut down on that. I didn’t watch the video that the killer in Ohio did but from what I understand, it wasn’t a FB live video. It was one he uploaded. In that case, it would probably be more difficult to monitor those.

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  4. Lia World Traveler

    This article is right on time as I have been having this conversation with my friends and colleagues. I think Facebook Live can be a useful tool if used in the right way but I do think Facebook should take more responsibility in limiting posts like those you outlined in the article, by creating algorithms or some other mechanism that can identify footage or content that is violent, offensive, or dangerous. I am not a technical person but I know this can be done.

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  5. Mimi Green

    I’m middle of the road with this one. I’ve not use FB or IG live as of yet.

    I’m more intune with brands and celebs using FB live vs. everyday people not talking about anything.

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  6. Jennifer

    I think it’s such a shame that people take something intended for good and turn it into something bad. I thought it was nice to see my family and friends give updates via Facebook Live. But now that there are people using it in a bad way, I am not so sure if FB Live is good anymore. The recent death of Mr. Goodwin was horrific and such a tragedy. I hope there’s a great way to crack down on those who are using it for bad.

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  7. Kita

    People are far too free with what they are willing to share on all social media. It’s pretty scary and I honestly wish people would stop sharing so many of these awful videos.

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  8. Jay Colby

    This is a great topic. I believe Facebook live like anything else in world will have people misuse it for negative reasons. But I believe in the Philando Castile shooting that was a great tool. That was utilized in the correct way to show the injustice from that police officer. Who without Facebook live video might have not been charged for the murder of Castile.

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  9. Felecia Monique

    Facebook live is here to stay. There’s always a bad side to social media or MEDIA in general. As it develops new protocols will be developed as well to try to make us safer BUT there will always be those few people who test the system.

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  10. Arnitris Strong

    I have been pondering what Facebook could do to prevent these horrific things from being broadcast. But, everything I come up with will render the “Live” portion useless. I hope they resolve the issue quickly.

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  11. Terri

    I’m by no means a tech person, but I wonder if Facebook could use a 5 minute delay – something like they use in live recordings of television shows to catch curse words, etc. I don’t know how it could be done or even it it’s a good idea but, who knows?

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  12. Keisha

    Facebook is an interesting place. I will be the first to admit if it weren’t for blogging I wouldn’t frequent it. I’m not sure how it could be fixed. Perhaps stricter guidelines for posting live streams. I’m sure that will cost them a lot of money. Thanks for sharing

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      Thanks for the comment, Keisha. I agree, I would use Facebook less if I weren’t a blogger. I’m sure Facebook will think of something to solve the issue.

  13. Jasmine Hunt

    I totally agree with this post! For every positive side of Facebook live post there’s at least 1 bad side. It’s a shame we cant enjoy something like this without it getting in the wrong hands same can be said about Instagram stories and snapchat. Although we haven’t heard too many incidents on these platforms but my confusion is why Facebook? Hopefully they can put in place something that will make it difficult for the wrong people to work this feature but I have no clue how!

    Jasmine 🙂

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