A string of horrifying murders and suicides live-streamed over Facebook has forced CEO Mark Zuckerberg to confront the issue in a post Wednesday morning.
Zuckerberg promised to hire an additional 3,000 people around the world to tackle the problem, along with things like hate speech, child exploitation and violence that are being promoted through the social media platform.
"Over the last few weeks, we've seen people hurting themselves and others on Facebook -- either live or in video posted later. It's heartbreaking, and I've been reflecting on how we can do better for our community."
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg added in a comment, "Keeping people safe is our top priority. We won't stop until we get it right."
Facebook Live killings have become a disturbing trend in the last year. The most recent example was a father in Thailand who posted two videos of himself hanging his 11-month-old daughter before killing himself. It took nearly 24 hours for the videos to be taken down.
A few days before that, Ohio man Steve Stephens gunned down a 74-year-old man in the street and then drove through town claiming he'd killed multiple people, all broadcast on Facebook. That footage stayed online for two days.
Zuckerberg said Facebook was working to make videos easier to report so it could respond quickly in these situations, by taking the video down or reaching out to law enforcement when someone needed help.
"Over the next year, we'll be adding 3,000 people to our community operations team around the world -- on top of the 4,500 we have today -- to review the millions of reports we get every week, and improve the process for doing it quickly."
He cited a recent case when someone on Facebook Live was considering suicide, and the team immediately reached out to law enforcement and prevented the person from hurting himself -- though in other cases, they weren't so fortunate.
"No one should be in this situation in the first place, but if they are, then we should build a safe community that gets them the help they need."
Facebook has come under increasing pressure to deal with this problem, with some people going so far as to say the platform encourages violent behavior and is partly responsible.
How can Facebook possibly be able to just keep doing what it's been doing after it live streamed a murder? I mean, come on.— SKY Alphabet 🚀 (@skyalphabet) April 23, 2017
Facebook can’t even come up with technology that stops the murder of an innocent old man being presented as entertainment by a thug. pic.twitter.com/ZUSqhVB6AJ— Man in Black (@69mib) April 23, 2017
The announcement is a welcome step in the right direction - though it could be seen as a disturbing sign of where social media is headed.
2004: i connect with friends and relatives on facebook— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) May 3, 2017
2010: i post long statuses about politics on fb
2017: i review murder videos on fb