- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Four people including a toddler were fatally shot during two separate instances Tuesday, both times as victims broadcasted live on Facebook.

A 2-year-old boy and his uncle were both shot and killed in Chicago on Tuesday when a gunman approached their car and opened fire, according to authorities. The toddler’s mother was using her smartphone to broadcast live to Facebook at the time of the gunfire, documenting the rampage in real time.

Two radio employees were killed the same day in the Dominican Republic when an assailant entered their studio during a Tuesday morning talk show program and began shooting.

“Milenio Caliente” host Luis Manuel Medina was broadcasting his program both on-air and over Facebook when the incident occurred, unknowingly live-streaming the final moments of his life before his program abruptly ended amid sounds of gunfire.

Facebook Live was initially introduced to celebrity users in August 2015, and the social network broadened the service to its billion-plus account holders the following April.

“Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained then. “Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. When you interact live, you feel connected in a more personal way. This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together.”

Despite being less than two years old, however, the relatively young live-streaming service has already been used to broadcast its fair share of grim encounters.

As noted by Axios this week, neither of the latest incidents signaled the first time a violent crime was committed during the course of a Facebook Live broadcast. A Chicago man reportedly filmed his own murder last June, and an Islamic State terrorist used the service that same month to broadcast the execution of a Parisian police officer and his wife, the website reported Tuesday.

Axios noted at least five grisly incidents that were aired on Facebook Live in 2016, in addition to an incident earlier this year in which four teenagers used the platform to broadcast themselves torturing a disabled man.

Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday with regards to any potential impact the latest slayings could have on its live-streaming service. The company said previously that its rules for live video are “the same for all the rest of our content,” however, and that it only plans on removing content “if it celebrates or glorifies violence,” Axios reported.

The Chicago Tribune identified the victims of Tuesday’s shooting as Lavontay White Jr., 2, and his 26-year-old uncle. The toddler’s pregnant mother was injured as well, and both her and her fetus were listed in fair condition afterwards, the newspaper reported.

A co-worker of Medina, Leonidas Martinez, was also killed in an adjacent office during Tuesday’s radio station shooting in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic Attorney General Jean Rodriguez said in a statement.

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