Mark Zuckerberg commented this week after Diamond Reynolds took to Facebook’s live video feature to broadcast the police shooting of her fiancé, Philando Castile, which happened in front of their young daughter.
— EBONY MAGAZINE (@EBONYMag) July 8, 2016
As you know, the story has had a major impact on the nation, but it has also led to numerous questions about the era of live video streaming on social media. For example, how will Facebook deal with live video when it depicts violence and atrocity?
Charlie Warzel at BuzzFeed raised a number of these and shared some comments from Facebook. Warzel said Facebook declined to answer his specific questions, but he got this statement from the company.
“We do understand and recognize that there are unique challenges when it comes to content and safety for Live videos. It’s a serious responsibility, we work hard to strike the right balance between enabling expression while providing a safe and respectful experience.”
He also shared comments from Mark Zuckerberg from when Facebook first launched its live video offering around the world.
“We built this big technology platform so we can go and support whatever the most personal and emotional and raw and visceral ways people want to communicate are as time goes on.”
As of this writing, the video on Reynolds’ account, which is most definitely “personal and emotional and raw and visceral,” has 5.6 million views. This doesn’t count the views from other streams that picked it up.
— The Independent (@Independent) July 8, 2016
Mark Zuckerberg offered the following statement in a status update on Facebook at 8:11 p.m. on Thursday.
“Yesterday, a Minnesota woman named Diamond Reynolds went live on Facebook immediately after her fiancé, Philando Castile, had been shot by police in his car. Philando later died from his wounds. In the video, Diamond’s 4-year-old daughter is watching from the back seat.
“My heart goes out to the Castile family and all the other families who have experienced this kind of tragedy. My thoughts are also with all members of the Facebook community who are deeply troubled by these events.
“The images we’ve seen this week are graphic and heartbreaking, and they shine a light on the fear that millions of members of our community live with every day. While I hope we never have to see another video like Diamond’s, it reminds us why coming together to build a more open and connected world is so important — and how far we still have to go.”
Since then, while it didn’t come from Mark Zuckerberg himself, the company issued a press release addressing community standards as they pertain to Facebook Live. It says that they understand the “unique challenges” of live video and that they know it’s important to have a “responsible approach.”
The company pointed to its tool for reporting live videos as they’re happening and noted that it has a team that is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This team, it says, responds to reports immediately. The tool can be used by anyone, and according to Facebook, it takes just one report for something to be reviewed.
The rules for live video are the same for any other content on Facebook, the company said. This means one of Facebook’s reviewers can interrupt a live stream if they discover a violation of their Community Standards.
“One of the most sensitive situations involves people sharing violent or graphic images of events taking place in the real world,” Mark Zuckerberg’s company said. “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.”
Finally, the company acknowledged that live video is still new territory as far as it is concerned and that it will continue to make improvements as it sees fit. Meanwhile, a massive amount of conversation continues to happen in the comments section of Mark Zuckerberg’s post.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]