A Facebook Live video on Tuesday showed three men in Norfolk, Virginia, get shot by unknown assailants as they sat in a car and listened to music.
The men, two aged 27 and one 29, remained hospitalized Wednesday. One was in critical condition and two were “doing better,” according to a Norfolk Police statement. Police are investigating but have made no arrests so far.
The video shows the men smoking and reciting song lyrics for more than 5 minutes. Suddenly, more than two dozen gunshots ring out; the camera then falls to the ground but continues recording for more than an hour.
Facebook said it left the graphic video on its site because it meets company standards.
Warning: The video below may be disturbing.
The Norfolk shooting is the latest example in which Facebook Live has documented a violent altercation in real time. Last week in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, the girlfriend of Philando Castile recorded the aftermath of his fatal shooting by police officers. In the Virginia case, however, it appears no one intentionally left the camera running to capture the incident.
After the burst of gunfire, the video picks up the sounds of worried neighbors, including one man who offers encouraging words to the victims. “Stay calm,” he says repeatedly. “Stay relaxed.”
About 10 minutes later in the video, paramedics arrive to administer treatment.
“Sorry about this. Your buddy is more shot up than you are. He’s going second. You’re going to be third,” an emergency responder says to one of the men as they wait for another ambulance to arrive.
Police did not identify the Norfolk victims, but the video live-streamed from the account of T.J. Williams.
When asked about the Norfolk video, a Facebook spokeswoman referred The Huffington Post to the company’s recent explanation of its live video standards.
“One of the most sensitive situations involves people sharing violent or graphic images of events taking place in the real world. In those situations, context and degree are everything,” the company said in a statement on July 8. “For instance, if a person witnessed a shooting, and used Facebook Live to raise awareness or find the shooter, we would allow it. However, if someone shared the same video to mock the victim or celebrate the shooting, we would remove the video.”
A company official told the Washington Post that the video remained on the site to “condemn violence.”
Facebook has recently faced scrutiny over how it handles sensitive events recorded on its video feature. A technical glitch caused the temporary removal of the Castile video for about an hour, according to Facebook.
After Castile’s death, Facebook explained what standards it would apply when confronted with “the unique challenges of live video.”