Whether it’s to share the good news of Jesus with as many people as possible. or keep church communities well connected, church live streaming on social media has become more popular than ever. A key part of this trend is that YouTube Live and Facebook Live for church services are easy to set up and have the potential to reach millions of people.
Churches expect to freely share the gospel, discuss biblical principles, and make disciples. However, they are often shocked and confused when their streamed Facebook or YouTube church services are suddenly muted, cut off, or removed. On top of this, the reasons provided for these church live streaming interruptions are often vaguely worded and can take weeks to resolve.
Why are there Facebook and YouTube restrictions? One factor is that these two social media platforms have over 5 billion combined users every month. In an attempt to provide their users with better experiences and protect themselves from expensive lawsuits, Big Tech platforms create “community standards” and guidelines that regulate if and when content gets blocked or removed.
Let’s explore the reasons that social media platforms restrict or remove churches’ videos and live streams, as well as take a look at alternate, more church-friendly platforms.
Anyone who believes that your church’s live streams, videos, or other content violates these standards can file a complaint. These reports are reviewed by moderators paid by Facebook and Youtube, who then decide whether to uphold the complaint or ignore it.
For example, both Facebook and YouTube blocked one church’s Easter service live stream after people complained about their portrayal of Jesus’ crucifixion. YouTube stated that the church was “Appearing to profit from a tragic event with no discernible benefit to users.”
The church explained the crucifixion scene was made with the “intent of helping us all understand the incredible gift of grace.” After a frustrating and lengthy process, their video was eventually reinstated, but they could not change the negative impact its removal had on their Easter service.
Unfortunately, many social media guidelines are subjective rather than objective, and many people are offended by basic biblical teachings. In the end, Big Tech employees may not understand the heart behind your gospel-centered content, and just one community guidelines strike is enough to block your church’s videos and live streams.
One of the most common reasons that your church’s live stream or uploaded videos may be blocked is due to copyright violations. Your church is responsible to get copyright permissions to stream or upload live music performed during your Facebook or YouTube church services.
Here are some other important things to remember when it comes to copyright and church live streaming:
Unfortunately, even if your church obtains the proper permissions, YouTube and Facebook’s algorithms can still block your live streams or remove your on-demand videos due to copyright violation claims by song owners or publishers.
A “copyright strike” happens when there is an actual copyright violation reported on YouTube. In this case, your account can be suspended, leaving you unable to stream or upload more content. If your church has three or more copyright strikes, your account may be terminated and your videos deleted.
Similar to copyright permissions for music, you need to get permission to upload or stream any prerecorded music (e.g. soundtracks, background music, etc.), movie clips, and any other type of copyrighted content. A content ID claim may result in your content being blocked, muted, or ads being played during the videos.
If a church receives a notice of a violation, they have the option to remove that content, or in the case of audio content, they can mute or replace the audio or music in question. There is also a process for disputing such claims, but it can be complex and take a while to resolve.
Your church deserves a streaming platform that is built to meet your unique needs and respects your religious liberty. Fortunately, there are other options available for churches to use, such as Vimeo, which is used by some ministries as it allows church streaming without some of the challenges of social media.
A church-focused alternative is Subsplash Live. In 2021 alone, over 121 million streams of gospel-centered content were shared through the Subsplash Platform with ministry-based features, such as:
If you’d like more information about this church live streaming solution that respects your church and your religious liberty, simply fill out the form below.