Facebook changes policy on graphic video for Facebook Live

Credit: Facebook screenshot

Facebook is making exceptions to its Community Standards. But it's for a good reason.

The Community Standards is the set of guidelines Facebook uses to determine if content is acceptable for the community at large. It has been used to remove inappropriate posts due to nudity, hate speech or graphic content in the past.

But the social media giant announced late last week that it would allow users to share graphic or violent videos or images -- but only under certain circumstances.

In IT Blogwatch, we find out what's the exception, and what's the rule.

Facebook has changed its Community Standards in the past -- what's the big deal this time? Lucy Bayly gives us the background:

Video is turning social media into a virtual crime scene.
In...three days, we have seen the deaths of two black men during separate encounters with police in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, and a rampage in Dallas that left five officers killed.
What they all have in common is that...these events unfolded through video recorded on smartphones and spread through social media.

Heavy topic today. But we see the connection -- these videos spread through social media. Joe Concha puts this in context:

Get used to hearing these four words...Facebook Live, citizen journalism.
In the...past, citizen journalists were a limited number of random people who happened to have...video cameras on them at the time an event...In 2016, hundreds of millions of people...can shoot video at a moment's notice. 
But with this power...to broadcast comes great responsibility. There is no filter, no producer, no guidelines to draw a line if something is too graphic or can be used for propaganda purposes.

No guidelines? Facebook might have something to say about that. Luckily for us, it released a statement specifically about this topic as it relates to Facebook Live:

Live video allows us to see what’s happening in the world as it happens...The rules...are the same for all the rest of our content. A reviewer can interrupt a live stream if there is a violation of our Community Standards.
One of the most sensitive situations involves people sharing violent or graphic images of events taking place in the real world. In those situations, context and degree are everything. 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.

Edward Craig, for one, sees the potential of Facebook Live:

Facebook...is not just changing the entertainment world, but it's dramatically improving peoples' sense of themselves and their relationship to power...Thank you for giving the marginalized a voice.
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