Facebook Live has yet again become subject of controversy as a pre-recorded video was shown under the guise of being live, through the network’s live video platform.
The reputedly pre-recorded not-live “live” video in question was that of a sky-high maintenance job; somebody changing a lightbulb on a 609 metre high tower. This “live-video” (but not live) was simultaneously hosted by the Facebook pages Interestinate and USA Viral.
It didn’t take long for users to spot that the video, marketed as both live and four hours long, was neither of those two things. It was in fact a looped 18 minute video that was first posted on YouTube back in September 2015.
Facebook Live has been subject of a number of controversies in recent months, including live broadcasts of killings in France and the battle for Mosul by Channel 4 News. However, the main thing that critics are taking issue with is the fact that Facebook has technically promoted and brought millions of views to something by marketing it as something that it isn’t. This is the exact type of misinformation that the social networking giant have been trying to rid itself of in recent years.
In many ways, fingers can’t be pointed at the perpetrators – these are simply publishers making use of the tools available to them to the best of their ability. It is Facebook who, in their infinite wisdom, have given preferential treatment to those creating “original” content, while failing to ensure that such content is truly what it says it is.
Facebook’s intentions are admirable – they want to increase the accessibility and frequency of high-quality, worthy content for their users. But something has to be done to ensure publishers are abusing these tools. Otherwise, what’s the point?