Facebook restated its rules regarding censoring live-stream videos late last week after footage of several graphically violent events went viral.
Last week, an African-American man named Philando Castile was shot by police in Minnesota, and his girlfriend began streaming on Facebook immediately in the aftermath of the incident. Footage was also broadcast live during the armed ambush against police officers in Dallas, Texas. The Castile incident was particularly controversial for Facebook; the video disappeared 10 minutes after being posted because of what Facebook claimed was a “technical glitch” (the site restored the video shortly after). However, some activists felt Facebook was either colluding with authorities to censor the content, or that the video needed to remain posted to spread awareness.
In response to all of the violent content streamed last week, Facebook restated its position on the matter in a blog post on Friday.
“One of the most sensitive situations involves people sharing violent or graphic images of events taking place in the real world. In those situations, context and degree are everything,” the site wrote. “For instance, if a person witnessed a shooting, and used Facebook Live to raise awareness or find the shooter, we would allow it. However, if someone shared the same video to mock the victim or celebrate the shooting, we would remove the video.”
While people might be upset by the role Facebook is playing in the news, there’s no denying that its live video function is going to be vitally important in both criminal and social justice issues.