Facebook Being Judged After “Murder Video” Posted On Its Platform
Facebook spoke against a video, posted on its platform, which featured the killing of an elderly Ohio man.
Facebook stated – “This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook. We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety.”
The video, which clearly showed the suspect, Steve Stephens, mercilessly shooting Robert Godwin, Sr., was taken down by Facebook three hours after it was livestreamed, drawing immense criticism on Facebook’s response time. According to Facebook, it has a video review team on call 24×7.
The horrific graphic video started speculations about whether Facebook might change its policies on video. As of now, any Facebook user can post any video, no strings attached. Users have the option to flag content they find objectionable, which Facebook employees have to review for possible removal based on their predefined policies.
“I think it’s entirely possible that this incident could change the game,” Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson said in his interview with “CBS This Morning” earlier today.
“What I think will happen now is Facebook will have to, A) look at their algorithms to try to figure out whether this can be stopped, and B) think about the culture; there is a real culture of violence that has perpetrated itself inside of video sharing and social media platforms, and can that be changed?”
While the company says, it is very cautious with regards to the content posted on their platform and fully dedicated to banning each and every content that violates the company’s standards, they also hope to provide space for victims and witnesses of violence for sharing their views on what’s unfolding in front of them.
This video has emerged as a powerful tool for both citizens and activists to act as reporters of major events as they happen in real time. Last year, a Minnesota woman, Diamond Reynolds, live streamed her fiancé Philando Castile’s last moments of life when he was shot by police with her four-year-old daughter watching from the backseat of the car. The video went viral across the world instantly, focusing a harsh light on police violence. The video temporarily disappeared from the social network due to some “technical glitch,” as per Facebook. It was restored afterwards with a warning about its graphic nature.
In a post last year, Facebook explained its internal logic and algorithms for reviewing videos.
“One of the most sensitive situations involves people sharing violent or graphic images of events taking place in the real world. In those situations, context and degree are everything. For instance, if a person witnessed a shooting, and used Facebook Live to raise awareness or find the shooter, we would allow it. However, if someone shared the same video to mock the victim or celebrate the shooting, we would remove the video,” Facebook said.
Facebook has its own sense of responsibility, which evolved over the years, Thompson said: “it no longer sees itself as just a platform, but now views itself as an editorial publisher, too”.
“If you think about the video that was posted yesterday and imagine it hadn’t been shot by the perpetrator, but it had been shot by someone witnessing, who wanted to use the live video feed as a way to try to stop it, that’s an entirely different case,” Thompson said. “But it’s the exact same video. That’s why these issues are complicated.”