Facebook Live: The new deadly trend

Brian Chang, News Editor

In a bid to stay relevant, Facebook introduced their new feature Facebook Live in January of last year, touting it as “the best way to interact with viewers in real time” on the Facebook website. Recently, however, there has been a disturbing trend of individuals streaming suicides or killings using Facebook Live, the most publicized one showing a man killing his 11-month-old daughter. The driving force behind these videos is not Facebook, nor the original streamer; instead, viewers of these videos are to blame for their prominence.

It is folly to place the blame solely on Facebook as a company. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company employs 4,500 individuals to review Facebook Live videos, with 3,000 more to be added over the course of the year. Yet, the onus is not on the social media giant to regulate its user content. Criticizing the streaming platform for allowing original content is analogous to lambasting Youtube for originality.

That begs the question: if Facebook is not to be held responsible, then who is? The individuals who continue to watch murders and suicides unfold before their eyes without calling law enforcement are the ones at fault. For an hour and 45 minutes after an Ohio man began streaming himself shooting a 74-year-old man, Facebook received zero reports about the video. Absolutely none. What is even more mind-boggling is that individuals decided to share the video for seemingly no reason; media personality Donnie Simpson wrote on his Facebook account that he posted the video “because it was all over the internet and every TV station in the country.”

The people who stood by and allowed grandparents, children and human beings to be killed without raising a single complaint should face criminal charges. They were witnesses to murder and suicide that idly watched people die. Every single one of those sharers and those watchers should be arrested and charged with accessory to murder.

No matter how many employees Facebook hires to watch endless hours of Live feed or how complex their algorithms become, it is impossible for the social media giant to prevent murders, and to demand it does is ridiculous. Facebook Live, while it may be flawed, cannot be blamed for its users posting violent or graphic content; the fault lies with the silent majority looking on.