Tech companies scramble to remove New Zealand shooting video

Evarado Alatorre
Marcha 17, 2019

Authorities made Facebook aware of the video shortly after the video began, according to Mia Garlick, Facebook's director of policy for Australia and New Zealand.

But a few hours later, footage from the stream remained on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc's YouTube, as well as Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp.

YouTube released a statement saying it was "working vigilantly" to remove the footage.

She said platforms like YouTube have the ability to find and remove violent videos with keyword searches, but that more people are needed to monitor the platforms.

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.

Facebook said it had removed the video following a police alert and blocked the alleged shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Other violent crimes that have been live-streamed on the internet include a father in Thailand in 2017 who broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook Live. Many shooting games allow players to toggle between close-range and long-range weapons, and the gunman switched from a shotgun to a rifle during the video, reloading as he moved around.

Frustrated with years of similar obscene online crises, politicians around the globe on Friday voiced the same conclusion: social media is failing.

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As Peter Kafka quoted Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg in Recode from a post relating to the spread of misinformation by Russians on the platform in 2017; these platforms put no roadblocks to the spouting of hate speech and now a terrorist attack before it has actually happened. She said the attacks were shown live on Facebook for 17 minutes before being stopped.

Facebook told CNET it had removed the unverified footage and was also pulling down "praise or support" posts for the shootings.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Tarrant was a personal trainer in Grafton, New Zealand.

Downing Street has also demanded United Kingdom news and media companies remove from their websites terrifying footage.

A spokesman for New Zealand's interior ministry said the video is likely to be classified as objectionable content under local law, and could be illegal to share. "He didn't say, 'This is what I am about to do.' There was no opportunity to stop it", a New Zealand government spokesperson said.

"Extremists will always look for ways to utilise communications tools to spread hateful ideologies and violence", she said.

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.

On internet discussion forum Reddit, users actively planned and strategised to avoid the actions of content moderators, directing each other to sharing platforms which had yet to take action and sharing downloaded copies of the video privately.

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