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Moderating Social Media's Live Video

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Tagged As: Censorship, First Amendment, Moderation, and Social Media

A few years back, statistics showed that adult usage of social media sites jumped from 7% to 65%. During that growth, other studies were showing how Americans were shifting from traditional news sources (TV & radio)towards the Internet. Now, nearly 62% of all news reaches American adults via social media.

This begs a question regarding precedent. Traditional news publications, reporters, and journalists may get hammered by the public for bias, but in general they follow a rough code of ethics in theory to remain unbiased and provide coverage of all topics. When the primary source of news is NOT a professional organization focused on reporting but a site focused on profiting from social interaction - where do the ethics lie for what news gets promoted and what gets suppressed? (NOTE: This topic was already touched on regarding social media's influence on the 2016 election and Facebook's alleged practices towards promoting anti-Trump material).

The subject rears itself again with the recent removal - due to technical glitches - of a live streamed video whereupon an African-American man is shot dead in his car by a policeman. That video is now easily available from CNN in a story highlighting police shootings (op-ed: this particular case seems pretty blatant and the video is quite telling). At what point, does a site like Facebook face the reality of what the site became, as opposed to what they want it to be, and have to adjust their policies to include content previously deemed unacceptable because they are now a repository of evidence or 1st Amendment expressions?

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