With the recent Facebook Live murder incident involving Steve Stephens, it’s time to discuss a serious problem: live streaming violence.
While there are tons of benefits to live streaming services — especially for social media influencers — incidents like this make it difficult to argue in favor of Facebook Live. Earlier this year, four Chicago teens were charged with hate crimes for kidnapping another child and torturing him on Facebook Live. The main problem with live streaming services is the difficulty in monitoring users’ behavior. Since a user’s content is only online for a short period of time, live streaming services are a prime venue for anything deemed too extreme for standard social media channels. And with views being tracked constantly, these services give people an incentive for providing particularly attention-grabbing content. Unfortunately, there’s nothing quite as gripping as committing heinous crimes for the whole world to see.
The larger issue here is the fact that these problems may be unsolvable. With billions of internet users tuning into millions of live streams, how can you possibly monitor every stream? And in a culture that’s become so built on popularity in regards to social media, there’s no way to convince people that views aren’t worth live streaming a murder or suicide.
So for now, we cautiously move forward with live streaming services, hoping to find an effective solution before another incident like this occurs and leads to the eventual demise of live streaming.