Facebook launched its Live-streaming service in December 2015. The service has been utilized in several ways, some less ethical than others. From live Q&A broadcasts with celebrities, to illegally broadcasting live football matches; Facebook Live has seen it all (its users seeing that as well). However, the live-streaming service has recently been used in the most immoral and unethical way as what was live-streamed was a murder. The implausible scenario occurred on the 15th of March 2019 when a terrorist attacked the Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand. The terrorist not only committed a mass murder, but also live-streamed as though he was playing a game of Call of Duty.
The live-streamed video caused an uproar from the online users, causing Facebook to hurriedly remove any existing footage of the video on its platforms. Other platforms, such as YouTube, have also followed suit to remove any leaked footage of the massacre. Despite the quick measures taken by Facebook, there have been discussions of putting an end to Facebook Live. In fact, the Christchurch massacre was not the first violent message broadcast to millions around the world. In 2017, an Ohio man named Steve Stephens dictated that he will be going on a killing spree during a live-streamed video on Facebook. Stephens proceeded to shoot and murder a 74-year-old man named Robert Godwin, earning him the label of “Facebook Killer”. In addition, there has been to date a record of three murders and a couple of gang rapes live-streamed on Facebook Live. The motives for these attacks have ranged from undetermined to absolute racism and white supremacy, but the result is one: millions of online users witnessed the execution of brutal violence implemented by the proprietor/broadcaster onto its innocent victims.
Facebook is undeniably incapable of properly regulating its live-streaming service. The AI system running Facebook is based on “training data”, which indicates that several thousands of certain uploaded data would eventually teach the system what and which should be deleted or kept. However, no one really wants these horrific acts happening again as it spreads the ideas of terror, violence, and hate speech. Most importantly, it directly means that there will be more people killed and/or tortured by sick-minded murderers. So, in this case, would the solution be socially bullying Facebook to the point of cornering it into deleting its live-streaming service? In fact, a number of businesses in New Zealand are preparing a boycott against Facebook, where they will be pulling their advertisements from the platform.
All in all, the fate of Facebook Live remains quite unknown as the event is still quite fresh and has not quite sunk in. Will Facebook crumble under the pressure of committing (although indirectly) yet another technological blunder? Or is it going to turn a blind eye to the entire incident and its repercussions?