The rise of violence on social media
TOLEDO, Oh (WNWO) —
The ability to stream anything, anytime is proving to be a double edged sword.
"For Facebook, they don't want to allow this content, but, they also need to allow enough freedoms so that they're not overly censoring user behavior," said Agnieszka McPeak, Law Professor at the University of Toledo.
She says while Facebook is not legally responsible for the posting of violent content, such as the alleged murder of an elderly man by 37-year-old Steve Stephens, it's in their best interest to remove this content quickly.
In a graphic video, police say Stephens post a video of himself walking up to an elderly man and then shooting him.
Authorities then say he went on "Facebook Live" later in the day.
While Facebook is legally protected from being at fault for such content according to McPeak, public pressure requires the company to act quickly.
"If we stop using Facebook because we don't like seeing graphic content, Facebook will absolutely do something about it because they don't want to lose engagement, they don't want to lose members," said McPeak.
And there's also the question, can those watching a crime take place be held accountable for not reporting that crime under current laws?
"Lets say you're a child psychologist or doctor and you find instances of child abuse...you may fall under mandatory reporting obligation by virtue of your occupation," said McPeak.