Pressure is mounting on Facebook to implement stricter measures on its Live video product after the platform failed to take down a live broadcast showing the brutal torture of a young man with disabilities, then allowed it to be redistributed on the site and across the internet.
The video first appeared on the social network on Wednesday (4 January), showing a man bound, gagged and cut with a knife amid shouts of “fuck Donald Trump”. The 30-minute live broadcast, watched by 16,000 people, was not taken down for some time as many users commented on the horrifying nature of the content.
Facebook has since refused to comment on why it took so long to respond to the video, which violates its community standards by glorifying crime. It takes only one person to report the content for it to be removed. The four suspects connected to the broadcast have since been charged with hate crime, felony aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
By the time the video had been removed, it had been copied and shared on YouTube. It was also reuploaded by rightwing news site the Daily Caller the following day on Facebook, attracting millions of new viewers.
The video, title ‘Hate Crime?’, was published on Thursday along with the comment: “Share this if you think it is hate crime”. It has since been viewed over 10 million times and shared more than 300,000 times. By repacking the video from a media publisher perspective as a means to raise awareness of the violent act, Facebook has permitted the video to remain.
It’s one of many dubious cases highlighting Facebook’s concerning publishing policies that seem to have no rhyme or reason, failing to censor hate crime while at the same time removing an iconic Vietnam war photo for violating its child nudity standards.