Skip to Content
Silicon Valley

Facebook is cracking down on live-streaming with bans for rule breakers

A woman looking at her smartphone beneath Facebook's logo
A woman looking at her smartphone beneath Facebook's logoAssociated Press

The aim is to minimize the risk of people using it to spread harm or hate.

The news: In a blog post, Facebook said that anyone who breaks its rules will be restricted from using its “Live” feature. There will be a 30-day ban for first offenses. Previously, Facebook usually did not bar users until they had repeatedly violated its rules.

The context: The move is a response to anger over the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was broadcast live on Facebook. It also comes ahead of an online-extremism summit in Paris cochaired by New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Arden, and France’s president, Emmanuel Macron. Arden called it a “good first step.” However, some critics say it doesn’t go far enough and want Facebook Live to be shut down.

An arms race: A major challenge after the Christchurch attack was that people shared edited versions of the video, thus making it harder for Facebook’s systems to detect. To try and tackle the problem, Facebook is spending $7.5 million to find new techniques that can detect media that has been manipulated.

World police: Facebook must be hoping that by acting first, it might avoid more punitive action by governments further down the line (see the UK, or Australia). But it’s also a reminder of the hugely powerful, and ultimately unaccountable, role it plays in policing and moderating well over 2 billion people on the internet.

Sign up here to our daily newsletter The Download to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech.

Deep Dive

Silicon Valley

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Twitter’s potential collapse could wipe out vast records of recent human history

What happens when the world’s knowledge is held in a quasi-public square owned by a private company that could soon go out of business?

Twitter may have lost more than a million users since Elon Musk took over

Estimates from Bot Sentinel suggest that more than 875,000 users deactivated their accounts between October 27 and November 1, while half a million more were suspended.

Former Twitter employees fear the platform might only last weeks

An ultimatum by Elon Musk demanding "extremely hardcore" working culture appears to have backfired. Insiders fear this could spell the end without drastic changes.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.