opinion   |  column

COLUMN: Facebook Live murder demands change



Another week, another technological terror that makes me question my love for social media and technology in general.

While I’m noticing a pattern in my columns about denouncing technology, I think it’s all for a good 
reason.

In a previous column, I covered the potential dangers and consequences of Facebook Live. This fear has resurfaced this week with Steve Stephens’ murderous rampage through Cleveland, where he randomly targeted and killed a 74-year-old and streamed it to Facebook Live.

BBC reports that this incident has made Facebook really think about their policies on the live videos.

Facebook will be reviewing what qualifies as violent content. Justin Osofsky, the vice president of global operations, claims Facebook is working to make its reporting flows more accessible and easier to manage.

Stephens posted three videos revolving around the killing. One video contained the intent to commit the crime, the second video contained the crime itself and the third video contained the confession to the crime.

All three videos were up for almost two hours before Facebook removed them from its network.

However, the videos had been reported only 20 minutes after first posting. This means that Facebook took more than an hour to remove the videos.

Osofsky claims that the stream containing the video was not reported for an hour and 45 minutes, but BBC’s timeline shows otherwise.

Facebook hopes that by initiating an artificial monitor it will be able to sift through potentially violent videos quicker and remove them before too many people have seen them.

As I was typing this article earlier in the day, the headline popped up that said Stephens had been found dead in Pennsylvania.

Police and FBI had asked the five states that surround Ohio to be on the lookout and traced him to Erie, Pennsylvania, where Stephens took his own life rather than be arrested.

On Tuesday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressed the annual Facebook Developer Conference. He gave his condolences and stated that they are in the works of creating a better system that will prevent these horrific events from 
happening.

I think it’s awesome that Facebook is working to strengthen its systems.

While people may be wondering how this differs from just posting a murder on YouTube, the live streaming aspect of the situation is what makes it all truly 
horrific.

People know the power of streaming.

They know the pain they can cause by inadvertently forcing their friends and acquaintances to witness crimes such as this.

Cleveland’s police chief, Calvin Williams, agrees with this sentiment. In a press conference, he addressed the issue with fake news and 
social media.

In regards to Stephens’ crime, he said that it is something that should not “be shared with the world. 
Period.”

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in Column



Comments powered by Disqus