By Leader Contributor Natalie Kuri, Partner Success Manager at OneRoom
When the pandemic gripped the globe in early 2020, the funeral industry needed a livestreaming solution — and fast.
As non-essential businesses shuttered and quarantine protocols were put in place, many funeral directors turned to existing technology such as Facebook Live to meet the needs of families and offer a meaningful ceremony for their loved ones.
Now, over two years have passed, and our world has forever changed. Virtual work and telehealth are ubiquitous; people, regardless of profession, rely on the geographic freedom that technology can offer. Funeral directors are still being asked to offer livestreaming and record services, and the value of the family having a recording to keep has been recognized, but Facebook Live and comparable platforms are proving not to be the best long-term solutions.
“This month, 80% of funeral homes who switched to OneRoom presented a common theme — Facebook Live caused too many problems. They needed a reliable and trustworthy video recording service.”James Montgomery, OneRoom National Sales Director
Here are the main reasons why funeral directors are leaving traditional social media platforms and turning to more sustainable, higher-quality livestreaming solutions.
Service recordings are failing on Facebook due to music copyright issues
Many families select specific pieces of music to be played during a ceremony — oftentimes, this holds sentimental value for their loved ones. However, during Facebook Lives and other social media streams, algorithms detect background music and will automatically halt a stream due to copyright concerns. This means all the viewers who are not physically present at the service are removed from their virtual viewing room and are left in the dark. Then, if they want to find out what happened and re-join, there is no dedicated support number for them to call. The experience is cut short all because of a song. The National Funeral Directors Association even released an official recommendation against using Facebook Live due to music copyright concerns.
When families use a private, managed service, they can select any music they would like, as there is no copyright algorithm running in the background. This eliminates the risk of the virtual ceremony ending too soon, ensuring guests in-person and online can watch — and listen — together.
Inappropriate content is being served to viewers on Facebook
Funeral ceremonies are sacred events — and guest lists should be firmly upheld as the families have outlined. However, Facebook Lives can be easily set to public, allowing anyone on the internet to enter and comment in the chat, which runs alongside the stream, resulting in limited regulation.
In an era of internet trolls, one can only imagine the destructive potential of this scenario. It can also cause genuine confusion. One Twitter user explains how people joined her grandfather’s funeral “asking in the comments for details about another person’s funeral.”
Unfortunately, chat room pings aren’t the only concern: ads, post-stream autoplay, and recommendations also disrupt the viewer experience during the service.
“When you watch a funeral on Facebook Live,” another Twitter user wrote, “it sometimes recommends a new funeral to you when it ends.”
These situations alienate viewers during a time of great pain when privacy is crucial.
No support is available from Facebook when things go wrong
The internet isn’t perfect, and sometimes we all need a little help. Beyond general FAQs and intake forms, however, Facebook Live and similar platforms do not offer a support contact who can address a viewer’s needs in a timely manner. The consequences are severe: When the livestreaming experience is self-managed, anxiety is increased during an already very stressful time. The focus is shifted away from the family who, in addition to mourning, have to set up the stream, consequently disrupting the service if there is a technical issue.
Furthermore, although Facebook Live has recording capabilities, the recordings can be hard to find and are of questionable quality.
Trust in a Better Solution
Grieving families deserve a livestreaming experience that puts them, and their loved ones, front and center. They should not have to worry about copyrights, ads, auto-recommendations, and faulty tech.
Services like OneRoom offer private, secure and reliable livestreaming, providing guests with a ceremony that reveres the mourning process and captures the emotional significance of the moment.
About the Author: Natalie Kuri, Partner Success Manager
Natalie has been a licensed funeral director for over 20 years in New York and more recently in Texas. She served client families in different roles throughout her career ranging from daily operations, embalming, leading teams in preneed sales, managing cemeteries and crematories as well as presenting to other professionals at events. Natalie joined the OneRoom team in 2020 as a Partner Success Manager, leveraging her skills from the industry to onboard and train new customers while continuing to develop customer relationships.