Facebook Live Gets Much Media Attention -- For All The Wrong Reasons

Facebook's streaming video service came under intense scrutiny after video surfaced of one Ohio man gunning down another.

Describing the crime as “horrific,” Facebook insisted that it doesn’t permit “this kind of content” on its platform.

“We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety,” it asserted.

In its statement, Facebook also noted that while the assailant did use its Live service on Sunday, he did not actually broadcast the murder live. Still, questions remains about why video of the crime remained on Facebook’s platform for part of the day.

More broadly, this is just the latest example of a Facebook Live user broadcasting violent and obscene events. There have been instances of teens streaming their own suicides; the broadcast of a young woman being raped; and a young man with special needs being tortured -- all live for Facebook’s entire community to see.

Despite this unsettling trend, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg remains committed to an aggressive video strategy.

Indeed, as Zuckerberg said on a recent earnings call: “I see video as a megatrend, on the same order as mobile.”

Yet word is that Facebook has recently been de-emphasizing live video in its ongoing discussions with publishers. In its place, the company appears to be pushing publishers to create longer, professionally produced video content.

Facebook has also been reaching out to TV studios and other media companies about licensing its own shows, according to multiple reports. The discussions are being spearheaded by Ricky Van Veen, the cofounder of College Humor, who joined Facebook’s executive ranks in early 2016.

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