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Facebook says violent Live Streams will remain on site if they “raise awareness”

Facebook Live Streams was used to capture some of the week’s most violent and troubling events. The social networking company, therefore, has found itself making subjective decisions on which violent videos should stay on the site and which should be removed. In fact, Facebook temporarily removed the week’s most watched video, Lavish Reynolds’ Live Stream of her boyfriend Philando Castile, after he was shot by police during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Facebook later claimed the takedown was the result of a “technical glitch.” 

Amid questions about Facebook’s policy around Live videos, the social network released some rough guidelines late yesterday to shed some light on its decision-making process. 

In general, Facebook says it will leave violent videos on the site if they “raise awareness.” (To what or whom, or how, it doesn’t say.) Here it is in Facebook’s own words:

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.

Despite the the update to its community guidelines, Facebook will no doubt have to use subjective judgement on the social value of violent videos that are sure to be posted in the future. MS