Tech

Your Facebook Live Videos Are Not Private And Can Be Legally Used As News Stories

By Luis Fran , Feb 21, 2017 07:03 AM EST
So far, Facebook Live videos have exposed assassinations and even torture, which open a big debate about how to stop vile content on the social media even if they help in solving a crime. (Photo : Bisesbimby/YouTube)

As everyone knows, Facebook Live videos have already become another incredible feature of Mark Zuckerberg´s social media, given the fact that it offers the opportunity of streaming live and interact in real time with friends and followers. Even when this is something which functionality and innovation are out of the question, the feature hides a really potential risk that has already been revealed: the way in which it can turn users´ privacy into a media material.

A Child´s Birth On Facebook Live Videos Went Viral

As it came out from the tv series Black Mirror, the media can now use Facebook Live videos the way they please, given the fact that U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled in a court hearing the use of the video footage is fair use, and it cannot be copyrighted if the footage is being streamed publicly, even if its owner did not agree. Naturally, this can be really helpful in order to clarify different crime cases and take the proper actions, but could also represent a delicate situation in which the media can exploit any material that could fit its interests.

In fact, the judge´s decision was taken because of an incident of this kind, in which a Californian couple made history for being the first to livestream on Facebook Live videos the birth of a baby when the father filmed the birth of his son. After filming for half an hour, he realized that the stream was set to "public" instead of "friends only." 

After more than 120,000 views, ABC picked up 22 seconds of the footage and aired on its morning show because its anchor believed that this was a socially significant phenomenon. Also, given the fact that ABC has a partnership with Yahoo, the portal also hosted this footage.

The Media Can Use Selected Footage Of Any Facebook Live Videos

The domino effect of the father´s decision ended up in a terrible situation, since a previous partner saw the Facebook Live videos´ stream and made domestic violence allegations against him, and told the Child Protective Services that the baby´s life was in danger. Although he denied the accusations claiming that there wasn't any evidence that proves it, the baby was taken away.

Naturally, he eventually decided to sue ABC and Yahoo in several lawsuits for copyright infringement, since none of these companies sought his permission or consent to publish the video or any screenshots from his live stream on Facebook. Nevertheless, the judge had a different perspective and made a decision that sets a really concerning precedent, in which "fair use" legally means that if any single picture or video are the focus of an important news story, the media can use selected footage.

This way, the similarities between social and traditional media are more intense than ever but have reached the dark side of life and technology, even when there are some benefits that could also help many people. Facebook´s lack of support to privacy stances represents the beginning of a new era in which features like theFacebook Live Videos becomes the greatest exemplification of how technology can scrutinize and expose an innocent life. 

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