Since Facebook Live became available to everyone in April 2016, it’s been home to hilarious videos (thank you for the endless laughs, Chewbacca mum), but also some very alarming and upsetting ones. This morning, Mark Zuckerberg took to his profile page to address the network’s violent videos and the steps that Facebook is taking.
“Over the last few weeks, we've seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook — either live or in video posted later,” Zuckerberg writes. “It's heartbreaking, and I've been reflecting on how we can do better for our community.”
The biggest move is the addition of 3,000 staff members who will work with Facebook's existing 4,500 community operations employees. In addition to reviewing reports about threats or dangerous materials, these individuals will remove posts that violate Facebook’s Community Standards, including those with hate speech or child exploitation, and work with local law enforcement agencies when necessary.
For anyone doubting the importance of these measures, Zuckerberg adds a timely anecdote: “Just last week, we got a report that someone on Live was considering suicide. We immediately reached out to law enforcement, and they were able to prevent him from hurting himself. In other cases, we weren't so fortunate.”
In response to Zuckerberg's post, Sheryl Sandberg commented, "Keeping people safe is our top priority. We won't stop until we get it right."
As Facebook grows larger and more all-encompassing, it will need to identify problems and take action faster than it has in the past. Adding 3,000 staff members to police content is a step in the right direction, but it's likely that far more will be needed.
As users, some of the responsibility falls on our shoulders, too. If you see something, don't wait — report it immediately. Your click has the potential to save a life.