Facebook Legal and Ethical Role in Stopping Facebook Live Killings

Assignment 1: Facebook Live Killings

Read the article Cleveland Shooting Highlight’s Facebook’s Responsibility in Policing Depraved Videos . Write a five (5) page paper in which you:

  1. Discuss whether or not you believe that Facebook has a legal or ethical duty to rescue a crime victim.
  2. Suggest and elaborate on three (3) ways that social media platforms can be more proactive and thorough with their review of the types of content that appear on their sites.
  3. Propose two (2) safeguards that Facebook and other social media platforms should put into place to help prevent acts of violence from being broadcasted.
  4. Conduct some research to determine whether or not Facebook has an Ethics Officer or Oversight Committee. If so, discuss the key functions of these positions. If not, debate on whether or not they should create these roles.
  5. Propose two (2) changes Facebook should adopt to encourage ethical use of their platform.
  6. Use at least two (2) quality resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia is not an acceptable reference and proprietary Websites do not qualify as academic resources.

Facebook Legal and Ethical Role in Stopping – Facebook Live Killings

There is no denying that social media have played a huge role in enhancing security. Most people can now communicate using social media on matters that concern security. The presence of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook has allowed people to send security threats to security agencies, as well as allowing the victims to be rescued and the culprits to be brought to justice. However, in an equal measure, social media platforms, such as Facebook, have been used to a large extent to broadcast acts of violence. One such act that has attracted great discussion and attention is Facebook Live Killings. There have been a lot of discussions in whether Facebook has any form of responsibility to stop such acts of crime. The paper will discuss the legal and ethical role that Facebook has in stopping Facebook Live Killings, suggest the ways in which social media platforms can be more proactive, propose safeguards to prevent acts of violence and propose changes to encourage ethical use of their platforms.

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Legal or Ethical Duty to Rescue a Crime Victim

            Facebook is not bound legally to rescue a crime victim but they have an ethical responsibility to report the crime. The operations of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are anchored under the privacy law. According to (Belmas & Overbeck, 2013) the invasion of privacy is a considered a tort action, where the injured can sue for compensation. These laws govern the operations of social media platforms and do not spell any form of responsibility for the platforms to rescue a crime victim. The duty to rescue a crime victim lies with the criminal justice agencies.

            However, social media platforms such as Facebook are ethically bound to report crimes that occur within their sites. It is in this regard that Facebook developed a set of community standards that govern the security of the users of the platform. According to (Facebook, 2018) Facebook has demonstrated their moral and ethical responsibility by monitoring and controlling the outcomes of situations that are likely to harm its users. Under the company’s community standards, every user is encouraged to report any information they may have viewed in Facebook Live, which they deem as threatening. The company does not encourage promotion of suicide or any form of self-injury.

Ways Social Media Platforms Can Be More Proactive and Thorough With Their Review of Content

            There is need for social media platforms to be thorough and more proactive in their review of content. The social media platforms can be used to convey messages of hatred, spun ethnic clashes and other actions that can cause injury or loss of life. It is for these and other reasons that platforms such as Facebook must adopt strategies to ensure thorough review of the content posted in their sites. One such way in which social media platforms can adopt is use of code of conduct. The code of conduct defines what is expected of the users of the platforms and the steps that can be used to reported unwanted behaviors.

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            The other step that social media platforms can use to be more proactive and to review their content is to set well defined policies that set the terms of use of the platforms. Such policies should clearly outline measures that govern certain information that is posted and other content that is shared with other participants. Facebook for instance can create policies that ensure that videos are moderated before they are shared with other participants or in Facebook groups. This will create some sort of censorship, where videos, pictures and other content that meet the set policy guidelines are allowed on the platform.

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            Finally, there is need for social media platforms to provide publicly the company Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The Statement of Rights and Responsibilities encompass the terms of service that govern the users of the platforms. Users should be provided with updates regarding policy and guideline changes. This will ensure the users are notified and to keep them informed on the proper use of the platforms. Any violation should be dealt with harsh punishment like permanent account deactivation.

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Safeguards Social Media Platforms Should Use to Prevent Broadcasting of Acts of Violence

            Facebook live has provided a way in which live broadcasts of acts of violence or even child molestation can be relayed to the audience. These acts are dehumanizing and could spark retaliatory attacks in case where the acts of violence originate from an opposing group in a tribal clash. However, Facebook and other social media platforms can safeguard such acts by adopting a number of measures. One such measure includes continuous monitoring of all data from that is being posted in the site. This includes live videos and recorded video footage. Monitoring should be done to determine if the data meets the company policies and the code of conduct. Any data that violates the code of conduct and policy should be deleted and owners reported and their accounts deactivated permanently.

The other strategy includes the enforcement of government censorship to prevent acts of violence. This includes deactivation of groups and individuals who have been deemed to promote violence, through videos and graphic images. Computer algorithms that can detect automatically and delete images and videos that promote violence must be installed in the platforms.

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Facebook Ethics Officer or Oversight Committee

            Large companies must be accountable for their actions if they are to change their behaviors. Big companies such as Facebook can control their behaviors by having an ethics and oversight team. However, a scrutiny of Facebook has revealed that the company neither has an ethics officer nor an oversight committee. According to (Hoffmann, 2016) Facebook has only created an ethics review process, with its suicide and support prevention tools being the case in point. The company should create oversight committee and position of ethics officer.

The presence of the suicide and support prevention tools cannot make sound ethical decisions. Rather, the two positions must be created as they will play huge role in investigation of claims and violations, helping to offer constructive criticisms for resolving issues through ethics training. The Oversight Committee holds the powers to start disciplinary process and issue penalties when they find that community standards and rules of regulations have been violated. The ethics officer can work with the Oversight Committee to help in decision making and in creating ethical guidelines for the company (Heider, 2017). The two could be so invaluable in overcoming recent events such as fake news that have been trending and the issues of Facebook Live killings.

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Changes Facebook Should Adopt to Encourage Ethical Use of Platforms

            There are many instances where Facebook has faced criticism regarding how the platform has been used. The most common ways in which the users have misused the platform is in hate speech and fake news. In order to reduce such unethical behaviors and encourage ethical use of its platform, Facebook must carry out continuous monitoring to eliminate abusive information and fake news. The use of data monitoring tools may not be enough since they are set to remove specifically constructed words or phrases, yet there are many ways in which information can be communicated without being detected by the algorithms.

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 There is also need to strictly enforce the use of authentic identity to reduce instances of identity theft and possibilities of defamation. Also, there is need for the company to examine its procedures, to ensure people who own multiple profiles do not violate the procedures, while those who canvass them should be removed.

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