Facebook has done it again. I’m hesitant to put the blame on Facebook completely, but I don’t know what else to say. It took Facebook almost 3 hours (some reports say only 2) to take down a horrific video of a person being murdered in Cleveland. Now I’m not blaming Facebook for the murder itself, obviously. But they need to take some responsibility for the posting of the video. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Several weeks ago, someone used Facebook Live to broadcast a sexual assault. How is this ok? And why isn’t it happening on other platforms, such as Instagram or Snapchat? While I can’t speak to the other platforms, it does make you wonder why this is happening on Facebook alone.
I don’t want to get into too many details of the Cleveland story, or even the sexual assault. Both were horrific, and the crimes themselves shouldn’t have happened. But what did Facebook do about them? They did respond to both, but it seemed to have taken them some time to get there. Which leads me to believe that there aren’t any safeguards in place to limit these kinds of incidents. But can they put something in place? It is rumoured that Facebook is looking into the ability to use Artificial Intelligence to understand what is in a video before it’s posted. But is that enough? And will it really even work? I’m not discrediting the technology, as I think that the capabilities are there. I just wonder if this is going to have the impact that we need. Because let’s be honest, anyone can watch these videos. Children, even. And why aren’t we taking this more seriously?
I know that people are outraged, and so am I. So I wonder if Facebook should take down Facebook Live until they can get it to a place that will give us some safe guards? I’m not typically a supporter of removing something just because “some guy” did “something stupid”. But in this case, it’s beyond just something stupid. It’s reprehensible. There aren’t any words to describe just how bad it is. And unfortunately, Facebook needs to address this and in a big way.
Currently, the way that it works is that Facebook waits for people to report violent or inappropriate videos. And while I know that news travels fast, it’s possible that people aren’t taking the time to report the videos. Or maybe they think that they’re jokes and not real. Facebook is looking into their reporting policies to ensure that they can address these types of videos as soon as possible, but is that enough? Is a simple change in process going to have an impact on the end result, or do they need a better safe guard in place? Such as using AI to determine when a video is inappropriate. Think about all the things that people could post. Yes, they will be taken down eventually, but at what cost? And once you watch a video, you’ve seen it. You can’t un-ring that bell, as the saying goes. And with the internet, these things go on forever.
It worries me that we are unable to come up with ways to prevent certain things – like fake news, for example – but we sure can come up with technology to advance our user experience. I briefly mentioned this, but why isn’t this happening on other platforms? Why aren’t we hearing about a video being posted on Instagram showing a horrific act? Or where the person is talking about committing a horrific act? It just makes me wonder that there is something wrong with Facebook that these people are being drawn to it over another platform? Or do the other platforms simply have better safe guards built into them?