Photo via NY Daily News - Photo shows Steve Stephens, the man who murdered someone via Facebook Live on Easter Sunday 2017.
(Comments and names have been blurred for protection of the people and to hide any expletive language.)
What is a live stream?
Straight from the English Oxford Dictionary, live stream is a noun - "a live transmission of an event over the Internet." or a verb - "transmit or receive live video and audio coverage over the Internet." People all over the world live stream from everywhere. Interning this summer, the Chief Meteorologist would do a Facebook live at least once a day. Why? Because people loved tuning in to hear a quick forecast overview and this way they get the chance to watch "behind the scenes" of an actual broadcast.
My friend's super annoying little brother goes live on Instagram at least once a day to talk to his friends about absolutely nothing. People go live simply because they can and they want to show off what exactly they are up too. And what better way to do it than over the Internet.
Now, there are obviously going to be security and privacy issues with live streams, as we've learned in the past few months.
Streaming Turned Violent
I'm sure most people have seen the videos of the police shootings or abuse on any type of social media. One that sparks up a huge conversation is about Diamond Reynolds and her fiance, Philando Castile, who was shot multiple times by police for what was a routine traffic stop. Diamond wanted everyone to see the video, which is why she posted it. She wanted the world to know the truth and this video was cold, hard evidence.
Another example of violence posted on Facebook via live stream was Steve Stephens, a Cleveland man who murdered an innocent grandfather to make a statement to his ex-girlfriend. This was something that hit home to me because he was in Cleveland, streets away from Cleveland State University and where the news station I interned at was located. The video was gut wrenching to watch and once it was on the Internet, it blew up. (Read more on the story here)
The Negative Sides of Streaming
Videos of violence have taken the Internet by storm. This isn't the typical way people have been able to view violence in the past. Before, stories like this would take days to learn of, usually through newspapers and stayed in one constrained area. Now, it can be shared, streamed and re-tweeted all over the country, continent and world as it's happening.
Because of this, police have run into some issues when it comes to regulating the content of these violent videos. These videos show real time moments and can share information that is valuable to how police should handle certain situations. The protests in Charlottesville and Dallas were shared and had vital information as to who was at fault in these riots. Some involved in protests try to urge people to stop streaming because some videos can potentially become evidence for the police.
Many people can agree that sharing these violent videos can have negative effects on the viewers. Streams that pertain to race, like Diamond Reynold's video, can cause post-traumatic stress disorder for African Americans who may have been involved in, or have had family involved in, a police brutality situation.
Not to mention the families of these people who have been scene murdered or hurt. Every time something like this shows up on their timeline, it is a reminder of the pain they had to go through.