What Happens If You Live Stream A Crime On Social Media?

Livestreaming a Crime on Social MediaOver the past decade, there’s been a rise in social media use across all age groups. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat are now the primary source of communication for teens and young adults. In addition to individuals, businesses also use social media to promote the goods and services they offer. The increase of social media accounts provides a lot of benefits such as increased interaction among friends and affordable marketing for small businesses. In addition to these positive outcomes, the rise in social media has also created negative outcomes including a rise in live streaming crimes via popular platforms.

Crimes Published Via Live Video Crimes Are Becoming More Mainstream

In 2017, the world was shocked when the murder of a 74-year-old Ohio man, Robert Goodwin, was streamed to Facebook. Since then, the number of live-streamed crimes has continued to rise at an alarming rate. In addition to murders, many other violent scenarios including abuse, rape, and suicide are also regularly streamed to social media platforms.

There is no known reason why people choose to live stream violent crimes on social media. However, experts suggest that the action might be an attempt to attract an audience, gain popularity, or make a statement. No matter the reason for the crime, individuals who choose to make criminal actions available for public consumption are subject to severe penalties according to the law.

Live Crimes Are Subject To Severe Penalties

In the United States, there are no specific laws regarding live-streamed crimes. There are, however, many laws that state penalties for criminal charges such as murder, abuse, and sexual assault. Individuals who choose to go live with their crimes create lasting evidence against them. All crimes that are posted to social media, even if they’re removed by the social media platform, remain available to law-enforcement officials and social media companies. Common penalties for live-streamed crimes include:

  • Fines
  • Incarceration
  • Probation

The severity of these penalties depends on the specific charges each person is facing. In the future, it’s likely that there will be specific laws and penalties regarding live-streamed crimes across the United States, including Florida.

Do Social Media Companies Have a Responsibility to Stop Live-streamed Crimes?

When a crime is streamed across social media, it becomes visible to millions of people across the world. With so many witnesses to these crimes, the question is — whose responsibility is it to stop them? 

In Florida, it’s not illegal for a witness to fail to report a crime unless it’s a crime being committed against a child. Penalties only apply to witnesses if they fail to report a crime and attempt to conceal it. Likewise, while there are no laws that require platforms like Facebook to unpublish live-streamed crimes, there is a call for social media companies to be more proactive about the issue to help diminish more instances of this from happening.

It’s not known whether new laws will be introduced covering criminal activity online, but the hope is that proactive social media companies will take the initiative and make live-streamed crimes a thing of the past.

Count on Orlando’s Trusted Criminal Defense Team

If you’re facing criminal charges in or around the area of Orlando, Florida, the lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are here for you. With more than 100 years of combined experience, all of our attorneys thoroughly understand the criminal process. We firmly believe that you should not let a single mistake define your life and will work tirelessly to create a defense that helps you win in court. 

Call 407.228.3838 to schedule your free consultation and speak with a live attorney or contact us online. It’s never too late to start on a path toward your future.