Facebook Live or Facebook Dead? by Mariah Jordan

When most people consider social media, they think of teens double tapping pictures or selfies, tweens sending each other funny memes of cats or old people, politicians criticizing one another about the disparaging state of US domestic policy, or maybe even middle aged-housewives liking videos such as the notorious “Charlie Bit My Finger.” Two decades ago it was not so easy to contact friends and relatives living in different parts of the country or world. But today, because of advancements in social media, we are just one click away from communicating with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Social media is one of the best ways to stay informed. Major news outlets and corporations use social media to deliver news to the masses, long before this news hits the stands. Social media is considered positive by many. I, however, see the opposite. If social media can bring major new stories and hilarious memes to our fingertips, why do I believe it does more harm than good?

From the first live streamed act of violence in August of 2015 when a man used Periscope to stream his murder of two TV journalists, to when an Ohio teenager streamed her friend’s rape on Facebook Live, to when when a Cleveland man broadcasted a shooting spree on Facebook live on Easter Sunday, social media has become a playground for violence. The proliferation of violence on social media illustrates the decline of morality on networking sites.

Live-streamed videos are a mere reflection of society’s fascination for felonious conduct.
We live in a technological age where people want to expose their distorted ideas, sexual perversion, and sadism. When millions tune in to watch, predator’s appetite for violence and fame only intensifies. If social media didn’t grant these people the fame they so badly craved, I can’t help but wonder if these violent acts could have been prevented.

We must return to the time when notorious videos like “Charlie Bit My Finger” had more shares than girls fighting in high school hallways. While social media companies didn’t intend for social media accounts to serve as a platform for violence, I believe, they must take accountability for social networking sites going askew. I challenge CEOs, like Mark Zuckerberg, to take their eyes away from their bank accounts and stop the large presence of violent imagery on social media. Whether this means the development of algorithm flags to immediately detect violent images or the instant deletion of violent accounts,social media companies must fix the problem they created so social media can return to a state of integrity.

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