Facebook Live: Should It be Taken Away from Us?
With the recent murder broadcasted on Facebook Live, some have started to question the validity of the feature as a whole. . In fact, I was asked directly by a good friend, Sarah Zahlen, "What do you think about fb live or uploading video based on recent events of "live" suicides and murder(s)?" I have seen many posts and responses on social media stating that Facebook should get rid of the feature. Although this can be considered an option, is it really the right option for Facebook or the consumers that use Facebook Live as a tool for their business, blog, podcast, or other venture?
Lets look at some facts before we answer these questions. The murderer, Steven Stephens, was mentally broke down in some way. He professed to have a gambling problem, as well as having a longtime girlfriend leave him just recently. He stated in a phone call that he had just "snapped" and was ready to go on a killing spree. He also stated that said killing spree would continue until his mother or his estranged lady friend called him. Once again, lets take into consideration that he has had a mental breakdown at the point of the murder of Robert Goodwin.
Another set of facts that we need to consider is that there have been approximately 50 acts of violence perpetrated on Facebook Live according to Wall Street Journal. These include murder, suicide, fights, and the beating of a special needs teenager in Chicago earlier this year. I am not stating that the most recent act is justified by these other cases, I am just making it known that this is not the first time a heinous act has been broadcast on Facebook Live. I believe that all of these broadcasts have done exactly what the broadcasters wanted. They have brought worldwide attention to the person shooting the video. In fact, they have made the videographer somewhat famous if you sit back and look at it.
After taking a look at some of the facts and figures of crimes broadcast on one of the most popular social media features available, we have to ask ourselves if the bad outweighs the good. Facebook Live has become one of the most used tools for entrepreneurs striving to get their business out to the masses. It's free for everyone to use, and this is a very big attractor to such people. It is a great way to put your face or brand out there for everyone to see and allows you to basically shoot a commercial for your business.
This has become a great tool for podcasters also. Podcasters will use Facebook Live to do live shows and interact with their audience. This is especially attractive for podcasters as most of the time a podcaster is asking for someone to email them, or go to their website and contact them. By using Facebook Live they have broken that barrier of recording something and releasing it later by doing the whole show live with the ability to get immediate feedback and questions from audience members.
In some cases, local businesses have started using Facebook Live to advertise big sales for free. The cost of production on a 30 second commercial can be daunting for a small business. Facebook has allowed these small businesses to essentially do their own commercials for free. Now the downside is the commercial is live, and you pretty much have to get it right in one take, but if you have cue cards to read, you are set.
These examples are just a few of what Facebook Live is being used for. Mark Zuckerburg has said that he feels live video may become the next big thing in communication. He believes that instead of texting, people will start doing live video to communicate to their friends. I don't know if this will ever happen, but it is being used as a form of mass communication now. Look at your timeline sometime and count the number of live feeds there are or have been during any 24 hour period. I am sure you will be amazed at the amount of people that use if for everyday things like showing their kids at recital, or a concert, or a local sporting event. I have to reiterate the fact that Facebook Live is one of the most popular features of any social media platform.
Now for the answer to Sarah's question. I took about 5 minutes to think about the question and responded with, "No matter the platform, evil people will do evil things. What the monster, Steve Stephens did is no different than what the kids in Chicago did not too long ago.
We cannot blame the technology that was used. It would be like blaming a car for a D.U.I. crash that injured or killed someone. The technology did not make the choice to be used in the crime.
If we start to blame the innovations of the world instead of the evil, we will effectively remove the ability to further evolve our society into a smarter and more efficient way of life."
It should be understood that we as the human race have to keep evolving. Our technology evolves because there are people out there that have innovative ideas that need to be shared with the world. These people, whom I will admit are 1,000 times smarter than me, have helped us tackle some of the biggest problems we have had in the world over the years. They have helped us by making better internet, gadgets, cars, boats, airplanes, kitchen appliances, medical devices, and a plethora of things that I cannot even begin to think of. If we kill innovation due to fear of how that tool can be used, we have lost our ability to evolve. Once we lose our ability to evolve, we will slowly devolve into a world that is uneducated, uninformed, and overall unable to connect to societies outside of our own.
Photo Credit: www.medium.com