Over the weekend, there was much chatter about Facebook removing videos and even shutting down worship services because of a changed policy regarding pre-recorded music and copyright restrictions. This, of course, is terribly concerning, because Facebook Live has been found by most of us to be the best, most efficient way of reaching our congregations during this pandemic.

Much of this seems to stem from a document Facebook published on September 11 this year in which an older policy was clarified. As is often the case, the attempt to clarify caused more confusion.

In order to find out more, I called the good folks at CCLI, the most popular licensing service for church music, in an attempt to get someone on either a podcast or a Facebook Live session to explain the changes, how they are impacting churches, and what is being done about it. I got an answer I did not expect.

As it turns out, it was misinformation that went viral, causing all this consternation. Yes, it was fake news. An article was published that interpreted this September 11 document in such a way as to lead one to believe that Facebook has changed its policy.

Facebook’s policy from 2018 has not changed. Alas, this still highlights an issue I’d like to lift up.

Relying on Facebook, YouTube, or any other such platform, puts us in a precarious position. We are at the mercies of the “algorithm,” the for-profit motives of these platforms, and our inability to control our outcomes. There are better ways of distributing our services, and I’ll be teaching about that in the very near future.

In the meantime, please check out this video that helps us understand why our email lists are still our most valued asset.

Still having difficulties with Facebook? If you’ve had videos taken down or had your account frozen, I sure would like to know about it. Please feel free to share your experience with me at steven@lakelandsinstitute.com.

See also this helpful article from 2018 that explains why Facebook may not have churches’ best interests at heart.

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