Published: Sun, March 17, 2019

Social Media Tries to Stop Spread of New Zealand Shooting Video

Social Media Tries to Stop Spread of New Zealand Shooting Video

"Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video", Facebook said on its Twitter account. "We are working with social media platforms, who are actively removing this content as soon as they are made aware of an instance of it being posted".

A suspected gunman broadcast live footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in the city of Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a "manifesto" in which he denounced immigrants.

The account of the shooter has now been removed from Facebook, and many other posts that had originally shared the footage have also disappeared from the platform.

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.

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.

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

If Facebook wanted to monitor every livestream to prevent disturbing content from making it out in the first place, "they would have to hire millions of people", something it's not willing to do, said Vaidhyanathan, who teaches media studies at the University of Virginia. In another case, the video was shared by a verified Instagram user in Indonesia with more than 1.6 million followers.


"While Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter all say that they're cooperating and acting in the best interest of citizens to remove this content, they're actually not because they're allowing these videos to reappear all the time", Lucinda Creighton, a senior adviser at the Counter Extremism Project, an worldwide policy organization told CNN.

Once a video is posted online, people who want to spread the material race to action. Seems that most agree on that.

PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, said on Twitter he felt "absolutely sickened" that the alleged gunman referred to him during the livestream. "My heart and thoughts go out to the victims, families and everyone affected", he said.

Adding to the challenge for social media sites, once original videos are pulled, different versions from downloaded or recorded copies start cropping up, and the never-ending cycle continues.

In 2017, a father in Thailand broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook Live.

In August previous year, a shooting at a Madden NFL 19 video-game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, was captured on live video. This makes for a tricky balancing act for the company.

"There is no fool-proof way to catch acts of violence on video or images with the technology that we have today", she said.

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