Let me preface this response with saying that I am also excited to see what news organizations can do with Facebook Live. It is a great tool that has a chance to do what other streaming tools could not.
However, I do have concerns that give me pause about going all in immediately.
In addition to the “forced” ubiquity that you mention, which has the potential to skew the popularity of Live, prompting more organizations to put focus there, thus driving up the popularity even more, and so on and so on. It is a very clever carrot Facebook is wagging at us.
Then comes the revenue share. Surely there are deals being brokered for revenue share. Now don’t get me wrong: money is great. Money keeps the engines running, the lights on and the journalistic boots on the ground. And surely Facebook Live will never be the prime revenue generator for a news operation — but what if brings in an amount said operation becomes dependent on?
With those deals, I have no doubt that there is a contingency that in order to get all your monies, you must do X amount of Live events a day/week/month. Otherwise, no deal. When that starts happening; when Facebook is dictating the velocity and medium of the news — instead of the story itself — then you start to get into some murky ethical territory. And if news organizations are just doing Live events to meet a contractual quota to keep the pennies coming in, no doubt the quality of those finish line posts will be atrocious. Your notifications will blow up at the end of the pay period with everyone going LIVE, showing you the contents of their office refrigerator and endless tours of cubicles.
Now, that’s worst case scenario. But I do think there should be some caution for news organizations before they sign on the dotted line and commit to doing LIVE VIDEO! just to bring in a few dollars while letting a third-party shape the look of the news.
All that I ask is that news organizations take a little advice from one Dr. Ian Malcolm: