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Ross: Facebook is empowering every depraved wacko with a smartphone

“Spreading depravity” is illegal in some countries. It’s how governments like Iran limit free speech. In America, we believe that with enough free speech the good will overwhelm the evil all by itself.

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But these days, we could use a little help – and Facebook isn’t helping.

Now that it hosts live video – it’s essentially the largest TV network in human history. Which is incredibly empowering for creative types, and whistle-blowers, and protesters – but just as empowering for any depraved wacko with a smartphone.

I’m not going to play the audio of that murder that was shared 1,200 times. I’m not going to play the murderer’s follow-up broadcast, which Facebook carried live. I am going to point out that since Facebook is now a broadcast network, it ought to behave like one. But instead, it took two hours to remove that latest eruption of depravity.

A responsible broadcast network does not let just anybody grab a live camera and start terrorizing people. But that’s completely doable on Facebook. I have to say that to see traditional broadcasters spread that depravity was also disappointing.

The victim doesn’t deserve to be remembered that way. It might push some other depraved individual closer to his breaking point.

Social media companies always promise some new software to fix the old software, which I’ve been hearing since software was on punch cards.

Well, the only new software I want to see is software that quickly takes a broadcast like this offline and beams it immediately to the only audience it deserves. The nearest cop.

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