Recently, I was viewing a live broadcast via Periscope of a singer I admire. As she was talking, some viewers started to post inappropriate comments. She overlooked the comments at first and continued to have a great conversation with her fans. As the comments continued, her fans tried to tell the commenter to stop, and she finally had to pause and ask the abusive commenters to stop posting inappropriate comments. It's unfortunate that our society sees this abuse happen on growing social networks. For example, YouTube is a notorious network for how many awfully irrelevant and abusive comments occur under videos.
New: comment moderation
Since Periscope is live, the person who is broadcasting is often so busy talking, performing, or answering questions, that she or he does not notice or cannot pause to moderate comments, so they rely on their community to self-moderate. In May 2016, Periscope announced that it would allow comment moderation. During a broadcast, viewers can mark comments as abuse or spam. Of course, if people disagree, this might happen to comments that aren't really spam, so Periscope built in a safeguard, saying "when a comment is reported, a few viewers are randomly selected to vote on whether they think the comment is spam, abuse, or looks okay." If the vote is in the majority, the commenter will be disabled temporarily.
It's normal to feel torn over this issue. It's critical to reduce online bullying, and at the same time increase freedom of speech, especially for voices that stand for beliefs that may be in the minority. Moderation is a tricky topic. For broadcasters who fear this type of voting may silence a voice (be it political, religious, or otherwise), even if it does reduce spam or abuse, Periscope gives the choice to turn off moderation. Periscope users can also opt out of voting in their settings.
Periscope said on their blog, "Above all, we want our community to be safe on Periscope. Comments are a vital part of the experience and we’ve been working hard on a system that still feels true to the live and unfiltered nature of our platform."
What do you think of Periscope's moderation? Is it making your viewing or broadcasting experience better? Have you had to report spam or abuse? Share your experiences in the comments.