Facebook Live, The New 'Witness' to Crime?
Feb 16, 2017 02:04 PM EST
The recent torture of a special-needs teen, streamed live on Facebook Live has raised concerns about the illicit use of social media as a platform of abuse and humiliation. However, instead of pointing fingers at social media, people should be thrilled that these outlets are actually enticing criminals to post evidences witnessing their own crimes.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat appears to be one of the first places detectives often look for key witness and evidences. Some cases would be completely unwinnable for the state if not for the defendant providing all the incriminating evidence against himself on social media.
The tragic Chicago torture video reported by CNN is a perfect example. It seems at this point that there might never have been a criminal case to begin with, without Facebook Live. Even if the disabled victim had tried identifying his assailants to police, a defense attorney might have picked the victim apart on cross-examination and raised reasonable doubt as he was the sole eyewitness to this event.
In contrary to that, having a Facebook Live video that is created, co-created and published by the defendants themselves, will likely singlehandedly convict them. This is being said, with the added bonus of giving a judge plenty of witnessing support for maxing them out at sentencing.
However, as a society interested in retributive justice, incidents replicating the Chicago case still cause some to demand that social media companies such as Facebook do more to police and prevent this kind of content being posted by users. What many do not know is the Communications Decency Act "interactive computer services providers" such as Facebook, from liability for what others post which includes Facebook Live videos, even if the social media sites have been notified about damaging material and fail to remove it, according to the Legal Information Institute.
Despite the abuse of social media, it shouldn't be hard for people to accept that at least now, social media witnesses evidence of crimes, often supplied by the self-sabotaging criminals themselves. When people post this kind of content especially through live videos that of which Facebook offers, they only help law enforcement update their "status" from citizen, to defendant and, ultimately, convicted criminal.