Social media platforms say they are taking action to remove Christchurch attack content

Social media platforms say they are taking action to remove Christchurch attack content

NZ flags half mast
The New Zealand national flag is flown at half-mast on a Parliament building in Wellington on March 15, 2019, after a shooting incident in Christchurch. (Photo: AFP/Marty MELVILLE)

CHRISTCHURCH: Social media platforms Facebook and Twitter said on Friday (Mar 15) they would take down content involving mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques that killed at least 49 people and wounded more than 20.

A suspected gunman broadcast live footage on Facebook of the attack on one mosque in the city of Christchurch, mirroring the carnage played out in video games, after publishing a "manifesto" in which he denounced immigrants.

READ: Christchurch shootings: Man charged with murder for New Zealand mosque attack

READ: Christchurch shootings: One of New Zealand's 'darkest days', says PM Jacinda Ardern

The video footage, posted online live as the attack unfolded, appeared to show him driving to one mosque, entering it and shooting randomly at people inside.

Worshippers, possibly dead or wounded, lay huddled on the floor, the video showed. Reuters was unable to confirm the authenticity of the footage.

"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.

"We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware."

Twitter said it had "rigorous processes and a dedicated team in place for managing exigent and emergency situations" such as this.

"We also cooperate with law enforcement to facilitate their investigations as required," it said.

READ: Christchurch shootings: Gunman published manifesto, livestreamed shooting

Alphabet Inc's YouTube said: "Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage."

Live streaming services have become a central component of social media companies' growth strategy in recent years, but they are also increasingly exploited by some users to livestream offensive and violent content.

In 2017, a father in Thailand broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook Live. After more than a day, and 370,000 views, Facebook removed the video. 

That year, a video of a man shooting and killing another in Cleveland also shocked viewers.

Source: Reuters

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