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The challenge that live streaming of suicides poses for Facebook

A 32-year-old man in Sonepat live streamed his suicide on his Facebook page on Sunday, PTI reports. The incident follows the death of a student who live-streamed his suicide from Mumbai on Facebook earlier this month. In Cleveland in the US, on Sunday, a 74-year-old was shot to dead live on Facebook, with the killer live streaming the shooting. In the past two years, since Facebook made live streaming possible for all the users, countless incidents of suicides being live streamed have come to fore. The growth in video consumption, and the availability of live streaming comes with a dark side: In the past, there have been incidents of gruesome violence, rapes, killings and suicides that have been live streamed on the platform. Shifting the policing to users The problem for Facebook is that with the ability to live stream now, anyone with a smartphone is now a broadcaster, and it is impossible to manage millions of live streams, unlike in case of TV. Additionally, with Facebook's algorithms favouring live videos, every user on the platform has a huge captive audience. It's facing a similar problem in case of Fake News, and even there, it projects itself as a neutral content carrier and refuses to play the role of a gatekeeper. The way that Facebook is dealing with this is to shift the policing to users: In case of videos, in March, it added added tools to live videos to prevent suicides, including enabling users watching a live video to reach out to the person directly, report the video to Facebook…

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