News Response 4 – Live Streaming

For this news response I read The New Zealand Shooting and the Challenges of Governing Live-Streamed Video by Neima Jahromi. This was published in the aftermath of the terrible Christchurch, New Zealand shooting at two mosques. Over 50 of people were injured or dead. However, the article did not go into the specifics of the hate crime, but more into how the killer broadcasted this crime. Using Facebook live, the killer posted a live stream of the whole event. The live stream link was originally posted on 8chan and then quickly, the video was copied to more mainstream platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

Jahromi interviews a professor of information studies at UCLA, Sarah T. Roberts. Roberts talks about how recently Twitter and Facebook have been encouraging video live streaming. However, there are definitely not enough moderators in the world to be able to filter every inappropriate live stream. She said that platforms already have problems regulating content that is not live so live streamed video is even more challenging. There have been talks about computers beginning to recognize violent or hateful streams as they happen but even that is questionable. Do we really want algorithms determining what should be posted? In response to these fears, people have been worried about live streaming being too “ungovernable.”

In the beginning live streaming seemed very positive as it was being used as a social tool in order to conduct positive change. For example, people would stream their experience at a political protest or even as a way to catch police violence. However, I guess there will always be people who might want to use a platform in the most extreme way, like live streaming a shooting.

I think that this article is especially compelling because it touches on a lot of topics, especially the power of social media. It is interesting and also terrible that the killer was able to use such popular social media platforms to proliferate his message. This reminds me of when in class we talked about the history of social media and how social media and the internet in general tends to group us so that we only see the content we want to see. We even talked about 8chan in class and how that was a platform created for extremists. I even Googled 8chan and it cannot be accessed through Google anymore. The fact that the live stream link was originally posted on 8chan makes sense to be because that seems like a community that would support each other and not care about the moral or social consequences. It is crazy that the internet works in a way where we can contain ourselves in a bubble with others and form a community even if our ideas are so wild. There are communities for so many different people out there and though this is a good thing as it allows people to connect with others like them, it is definitely scary to see how it can also foster hateful thoughts and action to the point where people die and kill.

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