One Take on Facebook's Video Problem: 'Not Solvable'

That's one question being asked in the wake of the Cleveland killing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2017 2:01 PM CDT
Should Facebook Ditch Live Video?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at his company's annual F8 developer conference Tuesday in San Jose.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Facebook hosted its annual developers' conference on Tuesday, but Mark Zuckerberg pivoted briefly to discuss the weekend murder of a man in Cleveland that was broadcast on Facebook Live. "We have a lot more to do here," he said, per the BBC, offering sympathy to the family of victim of Robert Godwin. "We will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening." But how the company can do that is the difficult question. A look at coverage:

  • When Facebook Live launched last year, Zuckerberg said he wanted "raw and visceral" video, and the company has been plagued by clips of killings, torture, and suicides, reports the Washington Post. One law professor's pessimistic take: "I don't think it's a solvable problem."
  • The New York Times takes a similar deep dive into the issue, noting that Facebook currently relies on an "imperfect" combination of high-tech tools and human moderators. If enough users object to a video, algorithms alert the moderators, who can assess and delete as necessary.

  • In the Cleveland case, the shooting video was up for about two hours before Facebook removed it. The company lays out the timeline here, adding, "We know we must do better."
  • At Slate, Will Oremus suggests that Facebook doesn't seem to have thought out the ramifications of Facebook Live before launch. It always seems "woefully unprepared" after each new instance of trouble, and the technical difficulty of a fix is no excuse. "If the company's reputation suffers because it can't find better ways to handle it, that's (no one's) fault but its own."
  • A post at Recode wonders if it's time to shut down Facebook Live altogether—whether it's "worth the pain of exposing users to murder and torture."
  • Short of ditching Facebook Live, the company could restrict it to verified users, notes a post at Fortune. But that's unlikely given that Facebook thinks video will play such a vital role in its future, it adds.
  • A post at SmallBizTrends notes that live videos now account for one in five videos shared on Facebook, which it sees as impressive growth. But a post at CNBC notes that advertisers remain leery, because they're worried about being linked to heinous content.
  • Another Facebook Live video is currently making headlines: A migrant activist based in San Diego disappeared in Mexico after posting a video asking for help along a highway. Authorities are poring over the video for clues, reports the Union-Tribune.
(More Facebook Live stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.