New live streaming apps make it easier than ever to share videos online. Meerkat and Periscope came out in the spring of 2015, and this year the new Facebook Live app brought access to an even wider audience. It’s now almost as easy to add live feed to your status as it is to insert a still picture.
People have been sharing YouTube videos for years, but live streaming adds a whole new dimension. It allows friends and acquaintances to live the experience with you at exactly the same time. It also means that whatever is in front of the camera will go online immediately, with no editing or vetting. This can have far-reaching consequences for privacy and reputation, not to mention legal ramifications. At ReputationDefender, we have seen first-hand the damage a shared media can do. Misuse of a live feed app has the potential to can create an ORM crisis instantly.
In this article we will cover some of the negative consequences of live streaming as well as guidelines for avoiding them.
- What could a live feed do to your reputation?
- As the person streaming
- As the subject
- Guidelines for live streaming
- Personal streaming
- Ethical considerations
- Privacy rights
- Professional streaming
What could a live feed do to your reputation?
Live streaming can harm your reputation whether you are the person streaming or the subject of the video:
As the person streaming - If you share a live feed on your page, you will be seen as responsible for the content even though you may have very little control over what happens once you go live. The legality of live broadcasting can vary depending on the situation and the specific laws of the country you are in, but on an ethical level, you will still be seen as responsible anytime you violate someone’s privacy, even if it’s not done intentionally. If there are a lot of comments or accusations this can start ranking highly on your search results page. Your search results matter, impacting both your personal and professional life. A big backlash can even hurt your career, putting off current or potential employers.
As the subject of a video – As the unwitting subject of a video, you can find personal information and events that portray you in an unflattering light broadcast before you have a chance to do anything about it. Live feed makes it even more likely that embarrassing footage of you will be posted online without your consent. While Meerkat only broadcasts the live stream and Periscope won’t store video for more than 24 hours,Facebook Live doesn’t have this protection. A live streaming video will be converted to a traditional video post unless it’s actively deleted. Even if you have a legal basis for getting the video removed, the process will be time consuming and the video will likely be shared multiple times.
Guidelines for live streaming
Personal streaming – The original idea behind live streaming was to extend social media sharing by allowing others to participate in your experience as it happens. If you are streaming for your friends you should focus on your own personal experience, what is happening to you. Don’t attempt to broadcast a movie or a concert (this can cause issues with copyright violation), and avoid focusing on anyone who hasn’t explicitly agreed to be filmed. Facebook’s settings allow you to limit sharing among a small group of friends. This is much better than automatically uploading a live feed status to your entire friend list.
Ethical considerations – Filming a private conversation carried on in a restaurant or another place that is essentially public is unethical even if it’s not technically illegal. Never use live feed to eaves-drop on someone and be sensitive about who is nearby whenever you are using a live streaming app. If you post someone’s personal life online, even if it’s accidental, you can both face backlash. This could happen easier than you might think. Facebook live feed typically lasts only 30 minutes, but if you get distracted and forget the camera is on, a lot can happen in that time. How many celebrities and politicians have unintentionally broadcast private comments because they didn’t realise the microphone was still turned on?
Privacy rights – What happens if someone else films you doing or saying something you would rather keep private? This depends a lot on where you are. There aren’t many privacy protections for actions taken in public places. If somebody records embarrassing video of you in the street, a movie theatre, or at a concert there may not be much you can do about it. On the other hand “Criminal Peeping” and filming people in a bathroom or dressing room where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy is usually considered a violation, as is stalking someone and filming them. If this is the case, you may be able to take legal action.
Professional streaming – live-streaming can be an effective way to promote your brand. It will help clients feel more involved with what you are doing, and as more people follow your stream, it will increase the overall traffic and make your page rank higher. Videos used for promotional purposes need a signed consent from the person being filmed however. The only exception could be your own company event where participants have already chosen to attend with a reasonable expectation that photos or video could be used for promotional purposes. It’s also important to remember that live stream video isn’t going to be vetted before being aired. A work-place feed that’s not carefully controlled could end up making gossip, negativity, and questionable work practices public before you have a chance to do anything about it.
Use live streaming with caution
Live feeds of popular or controversial events have quickly become viral, so it’s important to be cautious with any live streaming. Choose only very limited situations where you will be able to control what happens. If you want more spontaneity, make sure the feed is limited to a few close friends. For further recommendations about your rights or responsibilities, contact our privacy experts at ReputationDefender.