Facebook can’t prevent people from committing violent acts, but it can stop violence from being broadcast across its massive network. To do so, the company is enacting stricter rules regarding the mobile streaming of video on Facebook Live.
Effective immediately, users who break Facebook’s “most serious policies” will lose their Facebook Live privileges for periods at a time.
“We will now apply a ‘one strike’ policy to Live in connection with a broader range of offenses,” according to Guy Rosen, vice president, integrity at Facebook.
Rosen said Facebook will come down especially hard on those who violate its Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy, which prohibits the proclamation of violent missions and intentions.
In the coming weeks and months, users who disobey such policies can expect to lose additional privileges, like creating ads on Facebook.
Rosen said the changes are a direct response to the recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand, which were streamed on Facebook Live.
Devastating as it was, the Christchurch mosque massacre was hardly the first violent crime to be live streamed on Facebook.
Since its debut in late 2015, hundreds of horrific acts -- from murder to suicide to rape -- have been broadcast with the help of Facebook Live. Coincidence or not, the stricter streaming policy coincides with calls for firmer regulation of social media giants around the world.
This week, New Zealand and France are encouraging greater cooperation between tech giants and world governments to curb the spread of extremist content.
Separately, Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes just called on U.S. regulators to break up the social giant, due in part to its lack of societal accountability.
In response, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs and communications, said only a company of Facebook’s reach might have the resources to address issues like viral violence.
Facebook is committing $7.5 million to the research of new image and video analysis technology, which it believes can help reduce the spread of violent content.
That research will be conducted in partnership with the University of Maryland, Cornell University and The University of California, Berkeley.