Facebook Content Policy

Live Streaming, although not a very new phenomena on social media, is still in early stages of mass adoption. With exponential rise in streaming traffic across social media sites, big players like Facebook and YouTube are constantly striving to improve their algorithms that detect copyrights violations or break other guidelines.  

Facebook has now introduced a strike-based system. Content that went under the radar a few months ago is now being flagged for violations. Sometimes the video is stripped of audio and at times the stream is abruptly terminated.

Often users are left in the dark as to why their stream failed. Worst part is, Facebook does not even return any error message to inform us why the stream has ended. Only after painstakingly long investigation can we really know what happened. 

What content gets flagged?

In most cases videos are removed for copyright infringement. If you live stream includes, for example:

A movie or video created by someone else.
Live performance or play.
Recorded music from a PA or sound system playing in the background.
An attempt to create music listening experience.
Contains music owned by someone else
Violation of other Facebook community standards

Important to understand is that even if a small portion of your pre recorded video contains any copyrighted material your stream will be blocked immediately, even if you created the video yourself.

Why does this happen?

You cannot stream any content that you do not own or do not have the rights to play. If Facebook, YouTube let you stream the copyright infringed material they will be liable.

Copyright infringement laws are extremely strict, specially in USA and Europe. Letting people play content owned by others could potentially mean millions of dollars in fines and legal fees for these companies. Therefore free streaming services like Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, take copyright seriously.

But I have the rights!

Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to let the social platforms know in advance that you have the rights to a streaming content. Unless the content owner has allowed the material to be freely played on social media it will be taken down. For uploaded videos you can inform the social media platforms and submit a counter notification in case of an issue but with live streaming there is no way to do it proactively and stop your stream from being blocked.

What If I just stream it?

Every time you violate Facebook's policy you will get a strike.

Number of strikes that get your account blocked depend on the content. If you post child exploitative content, just one strike means your account is banned for good. For lighter offences you will probably be ok even with two or three strikes.

Facebook does not share how many strikes a user or page has to get before it is taken down. Strikes are not permanent against a user but how long a strike exist on a user's record is also not shared by Facebook either because of fear that this information can be manipulated to their advantage by bad guys.


Policy and guidelines of major social media platforms

Facebook community standards

YouTube community guidelines

Periscope community guidelines
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