Facebook Live, Periscope Play Roles in Uproar Over Police Shootings

Live-video-streaming services such as Twitter’s Periscope application and Facebook Live have played prominent roles in the fallout over police shootings of African Americans.

Live-video-streaming services such as Twitter’s Periscope application and Facebook Live have played prominent roles in the fallout over police shootings of African Americans.

The July 6 fatal shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn., was captured on Facebook Live (embedded below, but please be warned, the content is graphic) by Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Williams.


Posted by Lavish Reynolds on Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Dallas resident Michael Kevin Bautista used Facebook Live to capture this video (embedded below, but please be warned, the content is graphic) of a shootout between protesters and police in Dallas the following night, which resulted in the death of five police officers, the wounding of seven others, the killing of one shooter by a police robot bomb and the capture of several other suspects.

For licensing inquiries contact licensing@viralhog.com

Posted by Michael Kevin Bautista on Thursday, July 7, 2016

And DeRay Mckesson, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, used Periscope to live-stream his arrest Sunday night during protests in Baton Rouge, La.

The video of Castile’s shooting had been viewed more than 5.6 million times at the time of this post, as had the video from the deadly protest in Dallas.

Facebook had been under fire for its removal (and fairly rapid restoring) of similar videos, and the social network used a Newsroom post to attempt to clarify its policies:

We understand the unique challenges of live video. We know it’s important to have a responsible approach. That’s why we make it easy for people to report live videos to us as they’re happening. We have a team on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, dedicated to responding to these reports immediately.

The rules for live video 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. Anyone can report content to us if they think it goes against our standards, and it only takes one report for something to be reviewed.

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.

In related news, Twitter used its Blackbirds account, which was created to “celebrate and encourage diverse perspectives,” to announce the return of its custom emoji for tweets containing the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.

Readers: How have you used Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to follow the ongoing controversy?

Image on homepage of arrest of DeRay Mckesson courtesy of Ceara Goodnow Twitter account.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.