Cleveland police announced that Steve Stephens, the “Facebook Shooter,” shot himself after a police chase. Police spotted him on Tuesday morning, gave chase, and when they tried to pull him over, Stephens killed himself.
Cleveland can now exhale. However, social media and those who use it need to do some soul-searching.
Facebook launched its Facebook Live service last year, and founder Mark Zuckerberg seemed to be over the moon about its promise. Social media sites like Hootsuite were upbeat about the prospects for business.
But it didn’t take long before the dark side of Live Streaming emerged. It started with the death of Philando Castile, who was shot by police in Minnesota in July. His girlfriend streamed the event live to Facebook. Did Facebook take it down? Well, yes. For an hour. Then it reposted it with a “graphic content” warning.
Zuckerberg made a typical my-heart-goes-out statement but continued to defend Live Streaming as a way to “shine a light on fear.”
Then this happened in January. Four people in Chicago kidnapped, beat, and humiliated a mentally disabled man and Live Streamed their work on Facebook. Fortunately, they were caught and charged with various crimes, but not until the video had already been viewed and shared.