Social Media Companies Race To Take Down Video Of New Zealand Shootings

A still image taken from video circulated on social media taken by a gunman and posted online live as the attack unfolded shows him entering a mosque in Christchurch New Zealand

Rasty Turek, CEO of Pex, a video analytics platform that is also working on a tool to identify re-uploaded or stolen content with YouTube has told The Verge that it is almost impossible to stop live streams as they happen since the content is always changing.

"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 tweeted.

Yet the tech companies watched helplessly as the video of the massacre was circulated around on social media like wildfire. In the first 24 hours, we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload. Facebook did not immediately respond to additional questions. Reuters was unable to confirm the authenticity of the footage.

Because it's 2019, and livestreaming has had five years or so to really build up into a mainstream activity that people actually do, this means that horrific acts of violence and terror around the world have a greater-than-zero chance of having some video component attached to them.

But that's just a drop in the bucket of what is needed to police the social media platform, said Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of "Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy".

The shootings in New Zealand show how the services they offer can be exploited by extremist groups, said Lucinda Creighton, senior advisor to the Counter Extremism Project.

"What's going on here?" she said, referring to the shooter's ability to livestream for 17 minutes. "This is a case where you're giving a platform for hate", Democratic U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who is running for president, said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. "Platforms can't prevent that, but much more can be done by platforms to prevent such content from gaining a foothold and spreading".

More news: China's retail sales up 8.2 pct in Jan.-Feb

The gunman reportedly broadcast 17 minutes of the attack.

Theresa May's spokeswoman said: "Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other providers have taken action to remove the video and other propaganda related to the attack".

"The responsibility for content of the stream lies completely and exclusively on the person who initiated the stream". Politicians in multiple countries said social media companies need to be more vigilant. "We will do whatever is humanly possible for it to never happen again".

New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs said people posting the video online risked breaking the law.

Besides acting on user complaints about copies, YouTube said on Friday that it was trying to identify copies with an automated tool that finds videos likely to be violent in nature based on a combination of the title and description of the video, the characteristics of the user uploading it and objects in the footage.

The New Zealand Herald said the 16,500-word screed was sent to the New Zealand Prime Minister, the country's National Leader, as well as domestic and global media.

In the video, the shooter parks his auto next to the mosque and gets out of the vehicle with a rifle.

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