YouTube, Facebook, Twitter scrambling to contain video of New Zealand mosque shooting

New Zealand

Social media platforms Facebook and Twitter said on Friday they would take down content involving mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques that killed at least 49 people and wounded more than 20.

According to authorities, a shooter appeared to livestream video of the attack on Facebook, documenting the attack on Facebook from the drive to the Al Noor Mosque from a first-person perspective, and it showed the shooter walking into the mosque from the auto and opening fire.

"New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we removed both the shooter's Facebook account and the video".

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

"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by the horrendous shootings in New Zealand", the company added.

In response, YouTube said it was "working vigilantly to remove any violent footage".

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.

"The responsibility for content of the stream lies completely and exclusively on the person who initiated the stream".

"Our hearts are broken over today's awful tragedy in New Zealand", YouTube, which is operated by Google, said in a Twitter posting.

The video's spread underscores the challenge for Facebook even after stepping up efforts to keep inappropriate and violent content off its platform.

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He enters the building and fires repeatedly at worshipers as he moves from room to room. The platforms have also been used for videos showing police brutality.

People who wanted to spread the material had raced to action, rapidly repackaging and distributing the video across many apps and websites within minutes.

However, given the viral nature of social media, videos were still easily searched and viewed hours after the incident transpired.

The rampage's broadcast "highlights the urgent need for media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to use more artificial intelligence as well as security teams to spot these events before it's too late", Ives said. That same year, a video of a man shooting and killing another in Cleveland, Ohio, also shocked viewers.

Reddit, meanwhile, banned forums named "gore" and "watchpeopledie" where the videos were posted and commented upon by users.

Other violent crimes that have been live-streamed include a father in Thailand in 2017 who broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook.

U.S. President Donald Trump posted a tweet condemning the "horrible massacre", as did former leader Barack Obama.

Joshua Buxbaum, chief executive of Irvine, California-based moderation technology company WebPurify, said Facebook and other services could employ image recognition or other types of AI to identify copies in additional ways.

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