Facebook discreetly removes the map feature available for discovering live videos, redirected it to Watch

In 2016, Facebook launched a live map feature that displayed blue dots scattered all over the world. When the user clicked on the dots, they were redirected to live videos.

However, several users recently noticed that the map simply disappeared and Facebook Watch — the video hub hosted by the social media giant — took its place.

A freelance meteorologist Timothy Ballisty also complained of the same who relied on the live videos to assess weather of various countries in real-time. With the changed implementation, Ballisty is finding it challenging to find the live videos he is looking for because now he has to follow a specific ‘weather-based’ Facebook page instead of browsing the map.

Besides Ballisty, several users took to Facebook’s Help forum and queried about the sudden disappearance of the live map. Many also suggested the idea of bringing the former feature back due to its handiness.

Live video feature was initiated to allow users to stream silly stunts of personal events. However, the innocent tool gradually became a place to portray murder, suicide, and violent attacks that led the regulatory officials to enhance scrutiny over the feature.

Facebook is also facing allegation for the same for many years. However, the issue escalated after a terror suspect used Facebook Live to stream the mass shooting at the mosques in New Zealand.

Facebook quietly killed a feature for discovering live videos and now some users want the Map back

When contacted, Facebook’s spokesperson claimed that the feature was shut down in order to consolidate video pages. She also added the live map had ‘low’ usage but refused to provide relevant statistics. She further said that the feature was not discontinued to privacy concerns.

Other social media companies like Twitter and Snapchat also have maps in place to ease the discovery of live videos. YouTube also boasts a dedicated channel to discover live videos but does not display them on the map.

However, Facebook is a significant platform with more than 2.375 billion monthly log-ins and sifting through the extravagant amount of offensive content on the site is a difficult task.

Research analysts also agreed with Facebook’s decision to remove the map feature as it made them more vulnerable to abuse.

The live video map feature was launched for desktop users in 2016. It saw mixed reactions from the users who found the experience both – cool and eerie at the same time. This is because any user can excess ‘publicly available’ live videos by simply pointing to a specific location and see fascinating videos of their personal events. However, the same could also result in stalking and potential abuse.

Last December, the tech giant announced their intentions of ‘Building Watch for Conversations, Community and Connections’ but did not mention the removal of the live video maps.

Read next: Facebook removes nearly 5 billion fake accounts in the past 12 months from its social network
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