Social media platforms under fire for failing to curb extremist content on their sites in the wake of the New Zealand Mosque attack.
Last week, a gunman opened fire in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 50 people and injuring 50 more. As he did so, he filmed the entire crime and live-streamed it directly to Facebook.
According to a BBC report, what ensued was an exhausting race for social media pages to take the footage down, as it was replicated seemingly endlessly and shared widely in the wake of the attack. Through social media, it found its way onto the front pages of some of the world’s biggest news websites in the form of still images, gifs, and even the full video.
This series of events has, once again, shone a spotlight on how sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit try but fail to address far-right extremism on their platforms. As the video continued to spread, other members of the public put up their own posts pleading with people to stop sharing it.
While huge numbers of people have been duplicating and sharing the footage online, many others responded with disgust – urging others not only not to share the footage but not even to watch it. Spreading the video, many said, was what the attacker had wanted people to do. A lot of people were particularly angry at media outlets for publishing the footage.
Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy, for example, specifically named two British newspaper websites and accused them of hitting “a new low in clickbait”, the BBC report continued.
All of the social media firms have sent heartfelt sympathy to the victims of the mass shootings, reiterating that they act quickly to remove inappropriate content.
Facebook said: “New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the live-stream commenced and we removed both the shooter’s Facebook account and the video.”We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continue.”
And in a tweet, YouTube said “our hearts are broken”, adding it was “working vigilantly” to remove any violent footage.
Last month as reported by The Sauce, YouTube was in trouble after it failed in removing harmful content on their YouTube kids platform.