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Facebook Live Feature Goes Global But In A First Major Test, Did It Fail Expectations?


If you’ve been watching the news today, you would have noticed that there’s been a shooting of two black men in the United States. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile according to videos which have played over and over by mainstream media shows the two men being killed by police officers. Investigations are on at the moment into both deaths with statements by the US President condemning the acts. This morning, I turned on the news to hear that 5 police officers have been killed apparently by someone who wanted to avenge both deaths by killing white police officers. Our thoughts and prayers at TechBooky are with all who lost their lives in less than 24 hours.

In all of this though, our eyes became more opened to the power of Facebook’s Live tool. A Minnesota woman named Diamond Reynolds was able to go Live with the entire incident with respect to the shooting of Philando Castile who was her fiancé by a police officer.  Her four year old daughter was in the back seat and saw how it all went. In a video that has now gone viral and has been watched 5.1 million times at the time of this report , we saw millions of people including the media showing this footage online. people are showing solidarity everywhere but we noticed that Facebook has now classified this video as graphic and to watch it, you would have to click to accept that you want to watch the video.

In a post by Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook; he said

“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.”

A similar search for the same video on YouTube doesn’t give you the same warning which begs question, what’s Facebook’s yardstick for measuring what’s graphic and can upset?

Well the action doesn’t seem to represent Mark Zuckerberg’s reason for creating the Live feature in the first place because he had told BuzzFeed News in April when the feature was launched globally that he wanted to “support whatever the most personal and emotional and raw and visceral ways people want to communicate are as time goes on……. “because it’s live, there is no way it can be curated,” he said. “And because of that it frees people up to be themselves. It’s live; it can’t possibly be perfectly planned out ahead of time. Somewhat counterintuitively, it’s a great medium for sharing raw and visceral content.”

This is similar to how YouTube changed the Face of the Arab Spring and could change the minds of people on how they use Facebook Live for similar incidents in future. There’s already some outrage by Facebook users who even suspect the video might be eventually removed.

At this time though like I said, out thoughts and prayers at TechBooky are with those who have lost their lives and if you’re reading this, please be safe out there or anywhere else for that matter.

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