Editorial: Help Prevent Crimes, Don’t Watch Them

A 74-year-old man was murdered in Cleveland on April 16, 2017. A teenage girl was gang raped in Chicago on March 22, 2017. Both of these events were live-streamed on Facebook by the perpetrators for the world to see.

Facebook has been receiving backlash for not taking these gruesome videos down quickly enough.

For example, in 2016, a live video of a man being killed in a drive-by shooting was seen by 550,000 people on Facebook before it was removed, according to Fortune.com. The graphic video of the Cleveland man’s murder wasn’t removed until three hours after it was posted.

Here’s the thing: the people who watch these videos and do nothing about them deserve backlash, too.

As a Youngstown State University student, there are going to be plenty of happy moments that you may consider broadcasting on Facebook Live. Maybe you want to share your student organization’s events, your fun nights out and your college graduation with your friends and family.

But sharing disturbing videos where crimes are being committed and someone is being hurt is unacceptable. Instead of passing this type of footage on, report it. Flag it on Facebook and call the local police. This will help authorities catch the criminals.

People who don’t report on these live-streamed crimes may face consequences — the 40 people who watched the video of the gang rape in Chicago may face charges from the police after failing to report it, according to NPR.org.

After several incidents of disturbing videos being posted, people are questioning if Facebook’s live-stream should be an option, because it seems to give people who want to broadcast their wrongdoings an audience.

Facebook Live is a powerful tool, just like other forms of social media. The thing is, powerful tools can fall in the wrong hands if left unchecked. It’s important to not observe these instances, but be actively involved in stopping them.