Social Media Blindsided by Mosque Shooter's Live Video
Social media platforms are facing harsher scrutiny after a shooter accused of killing 49 people in two mosques in New Zealand appeared to livestream the murders over the internet, according to Bloomberg.
While platforms including Twitter and YouTube said they moved fast to remove the content, users reported it was still widely available hours after being first uploaded to the alleged shooter’s Facebook account. The video, which shows a first-person view of the killings in Christchurch, New Zealand, was readily accessible during and after the attack as was the suspect’s hate-filled manifesto.
The speed at which a video of the New Zealand mosque shooting spread across social media platforms has demonstrated yet again that tech companies are still struggling to control content, especially from popular services that offer live streaming of events.
The livestream of the murders highlights how technology helped the alleged shooter connect with like-minded people online. Chat sites have acted as sounding boards for anti-immigrant ideas. The alleged shooter is said to have posted on Twitter and controversial message boards such as 8chan about his anti-immigrant ideas, including publishing a 74-page manifesto. Even after the major tech companies acted to take down the video, commenters continued to praise the murders online.
YouTube has tried to keep violent and hateful videos off its service for years. The Google unit hired thousands of human moderators and put some of the best minds in AI on the problem. That was no match for a gunman, who used social media to broadcast his killing spree in a New Zealand mosque, and legions of online posters tricking YouTube’s software to spread the attacker’s video. When the rampage was streamed live on Facebook, police alerted the social network, which took the video down. But by then it had been captured by others, who re-posted it on YouTube.