Monday, 25 March, 2019

NZ massacre shows how online users find ways to share violent videos

UK interior minister says social media firms must act after New Zealand shootings NZ gun incident shows how social media is used to share violent videos
Steven Clarke | 17 March, 2019, 12:17

Social media companies struggled to block the spread of graphic footage that seemingly showed a mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques after one of the shooters reportedly livestreamed the attack, CNN reported.

The 28-year-old shooter, who has been arrested, published a racist manifesto on Twitter before livestreaming his rampage showing him repeatedly shooting at worshipers from close range.

Facebook said it was alerted by police to the livestream on its site, and "quickly removed the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video".

Facebook is "removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware", she said.

She said the attacks were shown live on Facebook for 17 minutes before being stopped.

But the livestream lasting 17 minutes was shared repeatedly on YouTube and Twitter, and internet platforms were scrambling to remove videos being reposted of the gruesome scene. "We are working to have any footage removed", the country's police department tweeted.

"Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage", YouTube tweeted.

"Our hearts are broken over today's awful tragedy in New Zealand", the video portal said in a Twitter posting.

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Mia Garlick, of Facebook in New Zealand, said, "We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues".

Alex Zhukov, founder and chief technology officer of LIVE4 developer VideoGorillas, said the LIVE4 services transmitted footage directly to Facebook and his company did not have the ability to review it first.

Earlier past year, 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.

At one point, the shooter even paused to give a shout-out to one of YouTube's top personalities, known as PewDiePie, with tens of millions of followers, who has made jokes criticized as anti-Semitic and posted Nazi imagery in his videos.

The seemingly incongruous reference to the Swedish vlogger known for his video game commentaries as well as his racist references was instantly recognizable to many of his 86 million followers.

Damian Collins, the chairman of the Commons culture committee, said it appeared to be a "terror attack designed for social media" and demonstrated why there had to be "statutory regulation of the distribution of content online through social networks". "This is a case where you're giving a platform for hate". "Subreddits that fail to adhere to those site-wide rules will be banned".

Other violent crimes that have been live-streamed include a father in Thailand in 2017 who broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook. The latter was up for 24 hours before it was removed. This makes for a tricky balancing act for the company. "We stand here and condemn, absolutely the attack that occurred today by an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist", Morrison said.

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