#Trending: Facebook Live Crackdown

COM 627 Trending Assignment #2-

While skimming Twitter I came across an article about a new policy Facebook is implementing. The new policy would prohibit the use of Facebook Live to stream a static image or other items that are not exactly live.

Here’s the link: “Facebook’s Cracking Down on Live Videos…”

Facebook’s live streaming feature has been in the media quite a bit lately. The most recent incidents revolve around individuals using the live stream feature to broadcast crimes and in a sad case, suicide. These events have opened the dialog on what Facebook can do, both legally and efficiently, to prevent the abuse of the feature.

This new policy seems to divert away from that discussion at a time when more energy should probably focused on those efforts. Facebook released this statement in regards to the purpose or role of live streaming on their site.

Within that statement, Facebook defines how their live stream feature is a powerful tool “to document events or ask for help.” I would like to argue that the videos they are trying to prevent are doing just that. They are allowing an opportunity to document in real-time the reactions from the public on a given topic.

In December 2016, Facebook released a “Year in Review” that included the top 10 live stream videos of the year. Of those ten videos, five of the top performing videos were of static broadcast calling for viewers to engage; leaving emoji input.

So, question: Why make one of the most popular forms of live streams against community standards when it appears that it is what the community wants even if they don’t know it?

Playing devil’s advocate, there is another side of the story: overuse.

According to Tech Crunch, 1 in 5 videos posted to Facebook is a live video. The feature that first launched in August 2015 to a select few, has now become universal. Sites like Tech Crunch attribute the growth to competition between Facebook and Snapchat. Facebook continues to be months behind when developing features.

With how many people use the live feature, does Facebook no have the rights to cut back on that usage and re-define the rules of use?

Food for thought.

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