President Obama speaking at the White House REUTERS/Carlos Barria

US President Barack Obama called the recent Facebook Live video showing four black people torturing a white man in an alleged hate crime "despicable" in an interview on Thursday (5 January), but added that he was "very positive" about the state of race relations in the US.

Speaking to CBS, Obama said: "In part, because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence and so forth because of smart phones, the internet and media, what we see is surfacing a lot of the problems that have been there a long time whether it's tensions between police and communities, whether it's hate crimes of the despicable sort that has just now recently surfaced on Facebook."

"I take these things very seriously," Obama added.

Four people have now been charged after a teenager that Chicago police described as having "mental health challenges" was tortured in a video broadcast on Facebook Live. During the video, one person can be heard saying: "F*** Donald Trump! F*** white people!"

The video has added to a renewed conversation about the state of race relations in the US after a number of videos showing white police officers' heavy handed treatment of black communities sparked outrage and protests.

Obama added that he sees things getting better in America: "The good news is that the next generation that's coming behind us ... have smarter, better, more thoughtful attitudes about race.

"I think the overall trajectory of race relations in this country is actually very positive. It doesn't mean that all racial problems have gone away. It means that we have the capacity to get better."