HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE FACEBOOK LIVE?

As social networks continue to try to outdo each other with new features, one of the most popular additions has been that of live video.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are increasingly putting the focus on video content, with reports that Facebook could be video-only by 2020.

It’s understandable that video could become the de-facto method of content consumption due to the simple buy-in for the audience.

A video is visual, quick, snappy. Words require more thought and more investment by the reader (which is why I’m eternally grateful to the readers of this blog and your choice of consumption method).

The success of Facebook Live is a testament to how social network users are adopting video, not just as consumers but as users too.

Yet, as the last 12 months have shown, the instant production and gratification that video offers could also be its downfall.

Facebook Live and the Dangers of Unfiltered

Over the Easter period, Cleveland Police began a manhunt after a video of a murder was uploaded to Facebook.

Steve Stevens shot Robert Godwin, 74, and shared the video of the killing to his Facebook profile (initial reports suggested the murder was streamed via Facebook Live, but this was later corrected).

The video remained on Facebook for at least two hours.

After almost 48 hours on the run, Stevens killed himself when his car was cornered by law enforcement.

Just a few days ago new broke of a Thai father who hanged his 11-month-old baby on Facebook Live before killing himself.

The video was shared on his profile, and according to reports remained online for 24 hours (Facebook has yet to confirm the details of the time).

In March of this year, the rape of a teenage girl by six assailants was filmed and streamed live on Facebook. In January of this year, a special needs man was beaten and tortured by four assailants, and his assault was also streamed on Facebook Live.

Also in January, the gang rape of a woman in Sweden was also streamed via Facebook Live.

These are just some examples amid the growing number of crimes and assaults streamed on Facebook Live and its peers like Periscope and others.

There seems to be little way to combat it, either. As the examples with Steve Stevens and the Thai father show, disturbing content can remain on the site for as much as 24 hours.

While its content team does monitor the site for inappropriate content (and live streams can be pulled immediately), Facebook essentially relies on the public to report such content for its team to review.

Unfortunately, while the review is pending, the videos are live on the site in full view of victims of a crime, or surviving family members of a murder.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has himself admitted it’s a huge problem and one that’s almost impossible to manage given the amount of content uploaded to Facebook every day.

Given the difficulty of managing the medium, and the damage that can be caused because of that difficulty, is it time to consider how Facebook Live and others like it is approved?

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Facebook Live?

The biggest problem with trying to manage live streaming videos is that they’re used in so many ways that are good, and educational, and – in some cases – can provide vital evidence to a court of law.

Consider the killing of African American Philando Castile by a police officer in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the summer of last year.

Despite calmly obeying the officer’s instructions, and advising that he was in legal possession of a concealed weapon, Castile was killed when the officer opened fire.

Inside the car were Castile’s girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter. As Castile lay dying in the driver’s seat, his girlfriend live-streamed the aftermath, and that helped convict the office in question on manslaughter. That trial is still undergoing today.

Indeed, Facebook Live has been used to broadcast demonstrations against police brutality, government dictatorships, and even examples of corporations treating their customers with disdain.

Then you have the fun aspects of Facebook Live, with vacation moments captured in time. Heck, we even use it for The Friendship Bench launch events.

But do the “normal uses” outweigh the depraved and harmful ones? Do we need to look at how users can access Facebook Live, and should there be some form of delayed broadcast for checks to be made?

I posted a quick poll on Twitter, asking if it was maybe time to only allow news organizations and accredited sources access to Facebook Live, and the opinion was split down the middle.

3 Studies of Google’s Featured Snippets You Should Read

Googles featured snippets are the new Google authorship, albeit less exciting because featured snippets steal links from publishers in SERPs.

Whether you like them or not, that’s the change we have to deal with because if you are not featured, your competitor will.

Here are three recent studies of Google’s Featured snippets you need to be aware of:

1. Ahrefs Study of Featured Snippets

Read the full study hereAhrefs

Ahrefs have examines 112 million keywords in their US database, almost around 14 million of which had featured snippets in their SERP. In other words, about 12.29% of search queries have featured snippets in their search results

They have found that, surprisingly, featured snippets have lower click-through-rate than the top result (where there’s no featured snippet) but they do steal clicks from the top result:

Key takeaways:

  • All pages which are featured already rank in top 10 for that query, however…
  • Google doesn’t seem to be featuring “the strongest” page in the top10 (in terms of backlinks). Instead, they tend to pick the page that answers the question best
  • If Google likes a page, it would feature it in LOTS of snippets: The top-performing page in the database owns 4,658 featured snippets with Wikipedia being the absolute leader in the amount of featured snippets it owns.
  • The top 30 most frequently met words among the search queries that trigger featured snippets

2. A.J. Ghergich’s Study of Featured Snippets @Moz

Read the full study hereMoz by A.J. Ghergich

Ghergich & Co. teamed up with SEMrush to conduct an in-depth study on featured snippets. SEMrush generously compiled and shared 1,400,000 featured snippets from their database for us to analyze.

The optimal length of a featured snippet paragraph is about 40 to 50 words(~around 300 characters).

What it means is that, for higher chances to get featured, aim at answering teh question within 40-50 words.

There’s no need to limit your lists or tables though:

The average number of items in a list was four, but that number is not what we should focus on. Instead, focus on the maximum number of items in the list. This prompts Google to display the “More Items…” text, which can lead to better engagement.

and:

Same with tables: For longer tables Google will invite the user to click to see more items in a table.

Moreover, tables give you huge competitive advantage because Google loves them but not too many publishers use them. So create more comparison tables!

3. Getstat Study of Featured Snippets

Read the full study hereGetstat

Featured snippet study: Getstat

Between January 16 and January 17, 2016, Getstat gathered the top 100 ranking URLs for one million high-CPC keywords.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Featured snippets are common on commercial SERPs
  • Featured snippets and “People also ask” appear to be connected
  • Featured snippet URLs in our study are less likely to utilize Schema.org
  • Financial queries generate more featured snippets
  • Featured snippet URLs often feature <ol> and <table> (<ul> lists still work but they are not as popular)
  • Featured snippets never overlap with three-pack places results