As with all social media platforms, it’s only a matter of time before someone ruins them for everyone. In the case of Periscope, one of the newest and increasingly popular services for live-streaming, idiocy has already made its debut.
The Lakeland Police Department in Florida was notified Saturday that a 23-year-old woman, Whitney Beall, was not only driving drunk, but Periscoping herself while doing so. Viewers messaged and texted the woman, asking her to stop driving for her safety and the safety of others on the road. But Beall continued to use the app to broadcast herself, and part of her streaming video even includes admitting she’s drunk and has no idea where she is.
Although Periscope — owned by Twitter — has only been around since 2014, this intoxicated woman isn’t the first incident of people behaving badly on the app. While the occasional flashing of genitalia can probably be expected (because it has somehow become an Internet norm), Scopers have already broadcast themselves snorting cocaine and engaging in other illegal and dangerous activities. Because of the convenience of mobile apps like Periscope and Meerkat, it’s almost guaranteed that there will be users who decide to live-stream at the most unflattering times.
On the upside, law enforcement’s job becomes a little easier when people use social media to record and share their illegal escapades. Incidences such as Beall’s provide cops the extra assistance in catching criminals, while essentially providing evidence of illegal activity that can later be used against the criminal. The San Francisco Police Department even has an officer whose job is to monitor Instagram. “There’ll be thieves showing off their goods on these services, “ says Family Online Safety Institute president, Stephen Balkam. “That’s as stupid as it gets.”