Live Streaming Apps Are Capturing Horrendous Acts From Threesomes To Suicide

Live streaming apps are hot these days. From Periscope to Meerkat to Facebook Live, these apps and add-ons are used to document people’s lives in a way that has never been an option before. Now, instead of simply writing a status about what is going on in their lives, people can go on the live streaming app of their choice and broadcast it to the world in minutes. Anyone with a smartphone can quickly set up an account on one of these apps and be live streaming their life in a matter of minutes.

For the majority of users, live streaming isn’t a bad thing. Many users are finding that the live streaming apps are helpful in promoting their business. They interact with fans and clients, answer questions, share their knowledge, and generally use it for what it was intended for — increasing engagement. Others find support in engaging with people that have similar experiences. However, there is a small percent of social networking population that are using live streaming apps for activities that are much less wholesome.

Just yesterday, three teenagers were reported to have used the Facebook Live feature to broadcast a threesome that was viewed by their classmates. The Inquisitr reported that the three teens, two girls of 14 and 15 and a 15-year-old boy, engaged in sexual acts on Facebook Live. When a teacher found out that several students in her class were watching the videos, it was reported to the police. According to Inquisitr,

“Following the investigation into the case and details provided in search warrants, it appears that the teenage boy from the video is not expected to be charged in the case. However, the two girls are being investigated further on charges of distributing harmful material to a child.”

Unfortunately, this is just the most recent thing that has happened on live streaming apps lately.

On Tuesday, a user committed suicide while on the live streaming app Periscope. A young woman, only 19 years old, who called herself Oceane, was on Periscope frequently. New York Times shed some light on the nature of her scopes (live broadcasts), saying,

“Seated on a couch, she smoked cigarettes, played with her cat, and showed off her tattoos: a rose on her left forearm, a small heart on her right thumb. She engaged with Periscope followers, who asked about her life and her hobbies.”

On Tuesday, she was scoping at a train station south of Paris when she committed suicide.

As investigations proceeded, it was revealed that she had texted a friend and told them that her ex-boyfriend had raped and abused her.

Twitter, who owns the Periscope app, quickly deleted the videos, but several of them were recorded by viewers and added to YouTube. They have since been deleted.

Other horrendous acts that have been recorded on Periscope include the attack of a 24-year-old man by two teenagers and the rape of a 17-year-old girl that was recorded by a female friend.

These are just some of the most extreme videos that have been witnessed by viewers on live streaming apps. Periscope seems to have a particular problem with sex acts that can be viewed by anyone, including children if they have the app. They are explicit and include sound. Periscope does have a report button that can be used, but keeping up with removing these live streaming accounts is proving to be a challenge. At any time during an evening, and sometimes even during the day, viewers stumble upon these scopes. Often, they discover them by accident because the accounts that stream these activities disguise them with code words in the description and intentionally misleading images that can make it hard to figure out what might be streaming before you open it up.

Many, including authorities and the owners of the live streaming apps, are asking what responsibility they have in these events and what can be done to discourage them. Some people have suggested making them available only to those that can pay for the apps, which would minimize the chances of underage users having access to them. Others say that there needs to be more vigorous monitoring of the apps.

Still others suggest that the best prevention is talking about the activities that are happening. Suicide, violence, sex — these are all things that young people are curious about and want to talk about, yet they often find that they do not have a listening ear when they have questions. They know the technicalities, but no one is talking to young women and men that want to watch the sexually provocative live streams and addressing why they are sometimes even participating in them. While there are a growing number of suicide prevention hotlines available, there are still many who do not want to call them because they feel ashamed. Yet they will go on a live broadcast and open themselves up to the world on a live streaming app.

At this time, there are more questions than answers, but this is definitely a topic that needs to be addressed before it gets worse.

[Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]