As the death toll in the Zew Zealand twin mosque attack hits 50, Facebook has confirmed it blocked a horrific video of the attack which was circulated in other social media platforms.
Highlighting the challenges faced by internet platforms in curbing the spread of violent content, Facebook said it “quickly” removed a live video from the suspected gunman in twin mosque shootings in Christchurch that killed at least 49 people.
The video lasting 17 minutes was however shared on YouTube and Twitter, and other internet platforms which were scrambling to remove same.
The video captured the gruesome scene of the attack.
The platforms that shared the video have pledged to crack down on sharing of violent images and other inappropriate content through automated systems and human monitoring.
“There’s no excuse for the content from that livestream to be still circulating on social media now,” said Lucinda Creighton, a former government minister in Ireland and an advisor to the Counter Extremism Project, which campaigns to remove violent internet content.
“Say they have their own technologies but we don’t know what that is. There is no transparency, and it’s obviously not working,” she said.
The organisation has developed technology that would flag certain kinds of violent content and offered it to internet firms, but has been rebuffed.
Internet platforms have cooperated to develop technology that filters child pornography, but have stopped short of joining forces on violent content.
Facebook has said it uses a combination of technology tools along with its own monitors and community reports to take down inappropriate content.
While Facebook has hired about 20,000 moderators, several media reports have highlighted the stress it puts on people to watch violent content, and problems dealing with live videos.
Facebook’s New Zealand policy team leader, Mia Garlick, said they were working to prevent re-postings of the violent video.
“We are adding each video we to find to an internal data base which enables us to detect and automatically remove copies of the videos when uploaded again,” she said in a statement.
“We urge people to report all instances to us so our systems can block the video from being shared again.”
The police in embattled New Zealand have tweeted advising people against sharing the “extremely distressing” footage from the Christchurch killings.
“We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.”