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New Zealand firms consider pulling ads from social media after mass shooting

19 March 2019

Ultimately, the original Facebook Live video of the terrorist attack "was viewed about 4,000 times in total before being removed from Facebook", the company said.

Last week's white nationalist terrorist attack occurred during Friday Prayer at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, and killed 50 people while injuring 50 more.

"We remain shocked and saddened by this tragedy and are committed to working with leaders in New Zealand, other governments, and across the technology industry to help counter hate speech and the threat of terrorism", Facebook said.

New Zealand's Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said it was appalling that Facebook allowed the gunman to live-stream the attack for 17 minutes.

The original video was hashed to remove existing and further posts.

He said a link to the live stream was posted on another website before Facebook was alerted to it.

Facebook had earlier said it deleted more than 1.5 million copies of the video in the first day after the incident.

Facebook said it removed the video from its platform immediately after being contacted by New Zealand police.

Facebook said other variations of the video, like screen recordings, were harder to detect, and so it employed audio technology to weed them out.

Facebook also said it was "working around the clock" to prevent hateful content from finding space on the platform, "using a combination of technology and people".

"We can not simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and what is said is not the responsibility of the place where they are published", New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told parliament on Tuesday.

'We can not simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published, ' Ardern said in a speech to parliament.

Social media and video sharing sites have faced criticism for being slow to respond to the first-ever live-streamed mass shooting, recorded from the first-person perspective of the shooter, the camera seemingly mounted atop the killer's helmet.

'They are the publisher, not just the postman.

In a statement on Monday, Facebook provided new details about the footage, including that the live broadcast was viewed fewer than 200 times. "There can not be a case of all profit, no responsibility".

Damian Collins, Tory chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, called for a review into how the footage was shared and "why more effective action wasn't taken to remove them". After the livestream ended, the video was viewed a further 3,800 times before being taken down, Facebook said.

Ardern said that her country had done as much as it could to "remove or seek to have removed some of the footage" circulated in the aftermath of the attack, but that ultimate it has been "up to those platforms". A Washington Post search of keywords related to the event, such as "New Zealand", surfaced a long list of videos, many of which were lengthy and uncensored views of the massacre.

New Zealand firms consider pulling ads from social media after mass shooting