Thinking about using Facebook Live to livestream a funeral? You might want to think again. Many reputable sources, including the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) recommend against using Facebook Live and YouTube Live for livestreaming funerals (see point 8 below). Funeral Directors and families want secure, easy-to-use and personalized platforms for funeral livestreaming – with no chance of technical glitches or, worst of all, technical failure. Unfortunately, Facebook Live does not perform well in any of these areas when it comes to livestreaming funerals.
Don’t use Facebook for livestreaming a funeral: Top 9 reasons
1. Not everybody has a Facebook account – or wants to be on Facebook.
In fact, Facebook is actually losing daily active users (see this). Do you really want to force family members to join a social media platform they have thus far avoided and which appears to be on the decline? This might be especially true for older family members who do not use social media.
2. Facebook Live is NOT private or secure.
Does your family really want to share final, precious moments with every person who can access their loved one’s Facebook page? Keep in mind that some heavy users may have more than a thousand friends, some of whom may be no more than social media acquaintances they may have never actually met in person. This number grows exponentially if the page is set so friends of friends can see and comment on content.
3. Inappropriate content.
Facebook Live comes up via feed that is based on each individual’s Facebook data profile. There is a strong possibility that something incongruous or inappropriate might show up in the video feed or even just the news feed – including unwanted advertisements. Do you really want viewers to be distracted by ads, posts and TikTok videos in the middle of your loved one’s funeral?
4. Difficult to record.
While a video can remain on a given Facebook page, recording the funeral livestream from Facebook Live takes special software and know how. You will need to Google special step-by-step instructions if you want to make the livestream available for download, DVD, or to store it on a thumb drive. Otherwise, it stays on the Facebook page forever – or you need to delete and risk losing it.
5. Likes, comments – and number of viewers.
Before livestreaming a loved one’s funeral, ask yourself this: Do we really want viewers to be counting the number of likes and loves, or reading comments during the service (unless comments are disabled)? Do we need to know, in the moment, how many people are viewing the funeral? These Facebook metrics can be distracting, and even potentially upsetting, to families and other loved ones who are viewing the livestream. The best alternatives to Facebook Live are purpose-built for funerals and won’t distract – they will inform. Which leads me to my next point . . .
6. Facebook Live content is not personalized.
Yes, you can livestream a funeral via Facebook – but you won’t have a guest book or a funeral program to share. You won’t be able to surround that video with other memories like pictures, stories, poems or tributes. In fact, a Facebook livestream shows up alongside posts and videos based on Facebook’s algorithm – not the family’s choice. As noted earlier, some of this Facebook-generated content may in fact be inappropriate for a funeral or memorial service.
7. Facebook Live doesn’t offer technical support.
Families using Facebook Live are not protected from technical problems that can derail the entire livestream experience. If something goes wrong during the livestream, it’s up to your funeral director – or the family – to fix it in the moment. Nobody from Facebook is going to help – just try calling them if you don’t believe us! As one media expert puts it, “There is nothing more stressful [than] a live event that is experiencing real-time technical difficulties both for the organizers of the memorial service and the viewers trying to participate live online.”Technical glitches can surprise even those who regularly use Facebook Live for other purposes.
8. Consider the problem of using music.
According to USA Today, “If you plan to play music during a live streaming funeral service, proceed with caution . . . Many streaming services use software that detects copyrighted music and can suddenly mute the sound — leaving those watching in limbo . . . NFDA says its members have seen issues with streams on Facebook and YouTube in particular.”
9. You are giving away control of your content.
In exchange for “free” broadcasting you are giving up control of your content as well as the user data of everyone who viewed the service. Facebook WILL use this to push advertising they benefit from onto those who view the service.
If these are some of the big problems with the major free platforms, what are some of the alternatives to Facebook Live for funeral livestreaming, including their pros and cons? Check out Part Two of our Definitive Guide to Funeral Livestreaming for detailed information about and comparisons between some purpose-built alternatives to Facebook Live, including TribuCast®. No matter what platform your funeral home chooses for a loved one’s funeral service, this guide will help you be informed of the pros and cons of every option.