Facebook's new live streaming platform has proven to be a powerful tool in spotlighting the good, the bad, the gray and the off-color. But after the video of Philando Castile's death was curiously unavailable for a while just after it had been posted, Facebook has clarified its stance on gory and violent content.
Just as is the case with video on demand, a member of Facebook's review team can interrupt a live video at any time. And a team member is on call around the clock, each day of the week, Facebook stated.
Users can also prompt a reviewer for a live stream to be halted, if there appears to a violation of Facebook's Community Standards.
The company noted that violent and graphic images often generate the most controversy and offense. So to determine which graphic and violent images are permitted, Facebook relies on context.
"For instance, if a person witnessed a shooting, and used Facebook Live to raise awareness or find the shooter, we would allow it," the company stated. "However, if someone shared the same video to mock the victim or celebrate the shooting, we would remove the video."
On July 7, Facebook users in the United States awoke to another viral video of police shooting a black man. The video had gone viral by the time it disappeared.
Diamond Reynolds, Castile's girlfriend, later suggested the police had deleted the video from her Facebook account, while others speculated that it disappeared while Facebook was debating whether or not to allow it.
The video showed a bullet-riddled Castile drawing his last breaths, as his girlfriend recorded the aftermath of the shooting. Reynolds asserted that Castile, licensed to carry a concealed weapon, declared his gun to the approaching officer and did what he was asked, yet was gunned when he attempted to supply his ID.
Facebook stated that the video was unavailable because of a technical glitch, though the company didn't specify what that issue was.
The video was restored about an hour later, with a graphic content warning overlaid on it, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in on the traffic stop during which Castile lost his life.
"While I hope we never have to see another video like Diamond's, it reminds us why coming together to build a more open and connected world is so important - and how far we still have to go," Zuckerberg stated.