With Facebook Live Video, you can watch videos that are streamed from all over the world. In fact, there's even a helpful map that shows you where people are streaming videos you can watch. Just click on one of the dots, and suddenly you're peering into someone else's personal life.
Usually, these live videos capture moments that are fun or entertaining. But sometimes they capture things that raise a question about ethics. In these instances, we wonder if live streams are actually a good thing.
A recent tragedy brought this question to light when a 10-minute video of a police shooting was streamed across the web. The video captured footage of an armed police officer in Minnesota shooting a black man.
July 6, 2016. Diamond Reynolds live streamed the aftermath of the police shooting of her boyfriend Philando Castile via Facebook Live. The graphic video was removed momentarily due to, according to Facebook, a technical glitch but was restored for everyone to see.
July 7, 2016. Five police officers were killed by sniper fire during a rally in Dallas protesting the deaths of Castile and Alton Sterling. The video of the rampage was also live streamed via Facebook Live and has been viewed 4 million times.
This is the latest social media landscape. Visceral, powerful videos shared by anyone as they happen. Uncensored, unfiltered, unedited. Personal snippets and streams of lives for millions and millions to see with no regulatory hindrances as of yet.
When Facebook unveiled their live streaming service this year, users saw it as a game-changing feature. It is indeed a technological marvel. Armed with only a smartphone and a data connection, you could virtually create your own live broadcast station and air anything you want.
Never in history has an ultra-intimate medium been so massively accessible and strangely tangible. There is a powerful emphatic element in the almost voyeuristic nature of live streaming that cannot be duplicated by anything else.
As of now Facebook can ban videos after they have been posted, but live streams are not regulated. Facebook officials recently said their team dedicated to reviewing live content will be expanded and work around the clock. They would be able to end a broadcast that they don't want on the site. It will be interesting to see how this all ends.