The Dark Side of Periscope

Mirror Image by The Joneses from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
Mirror Image by The Joneses from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I was on Periscope the other night, talking with people about the legal implications of using live video apps, when an awful thought struck me:

You know someone is going to use Periscope for evil.

I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that sometime (probably soon) someone is going to use Periscope or a similar app to share a live broadcast of a suicide, sexual assault, or other equally horrendous activity.

I hate that horrible things like this happen and that anyone might think that it’s a good idea to broadcast it to the entire internet-accessible world. I also hate how powerless I am to stop these people from doing things like this. It’s like a train wreck, and I see it coming but because I don’t know when or where it will happen, there is almost nothing I can do to stop it.

The only thing I can think to do is create a post like this that will hopefully raise people’s awareness so that if you see a bad act in the works and you are in the position to take an action to stop or prevent it, please please please do it. Do not stand idly by when there’s a chance that you could prevent harm to another.

If you see a crime being committed on a live video app, report it immediately to the administrators of the app and as well as law enforcement. If you don’t know where the act is taking place, report it to the FBI.

Two of the reasons I became a lawyer are I like to help people and I like to solve problems. It’s so frustrating to find myself in situations where I feel like there’s nothing I can do to help a situation.

Part of being a social media lawyer means I have to keep up on what people are doing online and could be doing online. The downside of this is I have to think about these worst-case scenarios and accept that it’s more likely than not that at least one of them will come to fruition.

I am watching the legal issues with Periscope, Meerkat, and similar apps closely. If you want to talk more about internet or social media law, please contact me or connect with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, or LinkedIn.

2 responses to “The Dark Side of Periscope”

  1. Applications like this that allow for immediate and un-moderated sharing of information and thought is the basis of freedom of speech. But that freedom comes with a dark-side as you have pointed out. I dislike that my company us pushing the use of social media based communications like this app as a way of marketing our products and services.
    It is short sighted to believe that everything that you said will be done so in a respectful and positive light. What happens the first time an employee or customer becomes disgruntled? What happens when an employee gets passed over for a raise or promotion and takes to social media in real time to let the world know of his/her perceived injustice?
    This is a ticking time bomb for companies. NOT TO MENTION the first time a criminal takes to the digital air-waves to broadcast their actions.
    Scary world we are in.

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