October 17, 2016

"Hundreds of thousands of people around the world watched the start of the invasion of Mosul, a city held by ISIS in Iraq, live on Facebook and YouTube this morning."

motherboard: The most popular stream—there were several, some of which are still live—was shared by Kurdish outlet Rudaw and re-posted by outlets like the Washington Post and Channel 4 in the UK. by Jordan Pearson

'While some viewers commented on the merits of the offensive, for others, the livestream itself was the most startling thing. As angry cartoon faces and “Wow!” emoticons floated over top of live images of war, viewers noted that it all seemed like a bit too much like a sci-fi fever dream about a war-obsessed culture.

'For most English-language viewers watching these streams, there was no explanation, no given context, no subtitles or translation—merely images of a mostly-barren foreign landscape peppered with men and trucks, idling and standing around, sparsely punctuated by violence. And in this void, commenters cried, “WHY THERE IS NO SHOOTING, EXPLOSION. I WANT TO WATCH A WAR,” cue the smiley face.

'Livestreaming a war—if one judges by the live comments—looks a lot like livestreaming a concert or any other event. Does the low overhead of sharing someone else’s stream on your outlet’s page coupled with the high viewer payoff almost ensure that we’re going to see it again? “Absolutely yes,” [David] Axe wrote.'

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