New Zealand Mosque Shooting


Global leaders criticized social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Google over their handling of extremist content on their platforms on Friday, after video footage of mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand was live streamed and widely shared online.

The Facebook Live video, taken with a camera that appeared to be mounted on the gunman's body, shows a clean-shaven, Caucasian man with short hair driving to the Masjid al Noor mosque in central Christchurch.

Facebook said it took down a livestream of the shootings and removed the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts after being alerted by police.

"We are also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we are aware", it added.

Ms Mia Garlick, a spokesman for Facebook in New Zealand, said: "We will continue working directly with the New Zealand police as their response and investigation continue".

On Twitter, YouTube stated that it is "working vigilantly to remove any violent footage" on its platform, indicating that the content had spread rapidly online and suggesting social media companies are finding it challenging to rein in.

Buzzfeed reporter Ryan Mac, for instance, noted that YouTube's algorithm and moderation team flagged the videos as sensitive, but could still be viewed after consenting.

Earlier a year ago, YouTube star Logan Paul posted a clip of a dead body hanging from a tree in Japan, prompting the Google-owned video portal to remove his channels from a preferred advertising programme.

New Zealand police, in a Twitter message early Friday, urged people not to share the "extremely distressing" footage from the Christchurch killings, which were seen on platforms such as 4chan and Reddit and some media websites.

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Facebook and YouTube were created to share pictures of babies, puppies and other wholesome things, he said, "but they were expanded at such a scale and built with no safeguards such that they were easy to hijack by the worst elements of humanity".

With billions of users, Facebook and YouTube are "ungovernable" at this point, said Vaidhyanathan, who called Facebook's livestreaming service a "profoundly stupid idea".

The livestream video was reminiscent of violent first-person shooter video games such as "Counter-Strike" or "Doom" as the gunman went around corners and calmly entered rooms firing at helpless victims.

Twitter has also been battling to remove shared videos.

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, who uses the moniker PewDiePie, said on Twitter that he was "absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person".

"This is a case where you're giving a platform for hate", he said. The shooting begins about six minutes into a 17-minute video reviewed by Reuters.

Other violent crimes that have been live-streamed on the internet include a father in Thailand in 2017 who broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook Live. News reports and posts that condemn violence are allowed.

"We are adding each video we to find to an internal data base which enables us to detect and automatically remove copies of the videos when uploaded again", she said in a statement.