Privacy vs Openness my take on Facebook Live vs Periscope ...

Credit to @tjcoughlan regarding a really short yet though provoking post on this blog … “Do you have any views on privacy or open-ness differences?”. To be utterly honest - this is not something that has crossed my mind until the question was presented. Not because I have no regard for privacy or openness, so far I have been focussed on the pedagogical benefits of social media streaming as well as understanding the nature of the audience.

In my biased opinion you need to look at each platform separately - conflating Periscope with Facebook Live is like comparing Coca Cola to Pepsi Cola. They are the same, yet not, both work, both are very similar yet there is a subtle difference in taste (i.e usage in the case of Periscope and Facebook Live) that sets them apart.

I will not labour the analogy any more than this.

Let us explore Periscope in terms of Openness and Privacy:
  • Anyone can follow your Periscope broadcast - armed with the link they can watch it without any restriction - they do not need to be logged in or have a Twitter account for the web page version. Which means that it can be seen by all - presenting a zero privacy and one hundred percent openness perspective (in terms of visibility).
  • Those using the mobile app - can use their twitter account. Twitter by design can be anonymous, how do you think that the Trolls behave. Also - so can you be. I broadcast as @OUCisco - while I am clearly open regarding my role in this. If I allowed a colleague to be @OUCisco they could do so with respectable privacy.
  • Twitter therefore offers both user privacy and follower (viewer) privacy - openness is limited to the honesty of the broadcaster was well as the following viewers.
  • In terms of openness the persistent nature of the video stream is also of interest. Periscope lasting for 24 hours - makes any repudiation or comparison difficult. Not that anyone is being accused of sneaky tactics. Facebook live on the other hand allows the live broadcasts to be stored permanently on ones timeline (or page), giving a different perspective on the ideal of openness.
Now, lets explore Facebook Live, in the same terms of Openness and Privacy:
  • You have to be a friend, follower or ‘liker’ of a page to be able to view a Facebook Live broadcast. As the broadcaster - I can control how it is seen - a bonus. So, in terms of privacy - I can see that you can see what I have broadcast. I can see who are ‘likers’ on my pages - however you can control how much I know about you - the problem is that not everyone has yet been successful in following the guidance from Facebook in managing this
  • I personally elect whatever I put on Facebook, is something that I can live with - however not everyone is the same. There are privacy risks associated with Facebook. From my experience of using the OUCisco page for the last two years there have been no issues as this is a self selecting population.
  • In terms of openness Facebook Live wins over Periscope at many levels - on Periscope I can be AnonymousBOB - on Facebook I have to be the page, which is associated with me - and I have to use my real name. While there are false/pseudo accounts (and they are not difficult to create). The potential for openness and therefore transparency is potentially greater.
  • Facebook Live offers another layer of openness in terms of persistence - the videos can remain forever - unlike the short 24-hour persistence of Periscope. In these terms - you have to stop and think what you broadcast or delete. Otherwise it can escape to a considerably larger audience.
Both platforms offer sharing, both offer the ability to follow (or like) a page. For the work I am doing I am more interested in the page based approach rather than from my own personal profile. Personal profiles if the Facebook Live broadcast is public - may have considerable privacy issues which the users must consider before they engage.

I doubt that I have covered all aspects - however I do believe that this is the start of an interesting conversation.


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