A man who intentionally drove his car into Middlesex Hospital on Thursday before setting himself on fire, streamed the incident on Facebook Live.
Eyewitness News spoke to media experts about what viewers can do if they see something horrific on social media.
Steven Ellam was behind the wheel of his car naked, while broadcasting live on Facebook when he crashed his car into the hospital.
He was planning to crash his car into the emergency department of Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, then lit himself on fire.
The video was streaming on Facebook for over two minutes.
While most people have social media, they don’t expect to come across this type of video.
“What social media has allowed us to do is to bring people in our lives 24/7 and I think for a lot of us it’s second nature to tell everyone every step of what we are doing,” said Scott Driscoll, President of Internet Safety Concepts.
Scott Driscoll with Internet Safety Concepts said using the Facebook Live approach is just another platform to do things. Many people reported the video, which gives Facebook the control to take it down.
“Facebook is going to look at it and say, ‘does it meet our criteria, follow their guidelines.’” Before they just take something down, as a company they have the right to do that,” Driscoll said.
While it depends on the situation, another expert said people should report it, either to the social media platform or to police if something doesn’t feel right.
“I think we do have a responsibility as citizens to report anything that could be a threat to security or safety, but being able to identify is it truly a threat, and is so difficult for us right now,” said Katie Place, Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication at Quinnipiac University.
What makes it even more difficult is when others share the post, or someone records the video from one cell phone to another. That makes it more challenging for a company like Facebook to take the video down.
“We have to be conscious of what we share, what we like, what we post, but it could become permanent and this is something we don’t want a lot of people to see,” Driscoll said.
The video of Ellam was shared an unknown number of times, but Facebook has since taken it down.
Police will likely use the Facebook Live video in their investigation.
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