Facebook removes 1.5 million videos of New Zealand shooting

Leroy Wright
March 20, 2019

Facebook has previously said that in the first 24 hours after the massacre, it removed 1.5 million videos of the attacks, 'of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload, ' implying 300,000 copies successfully made it on to the site before being taken down.

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.

Vodafone and two other telecommunications operators which provide internet access for most New Zealanders, said Tuesday they want Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to take part in an "urgent discussion" on how to keep harmful content off their platforms.

On Tuesday, Australia's three main telecommunication companies, Spark, Vodafone NZ and 2degrees, released a scathing letter to the CEOs of the world's largest tech platforms demanding more action to remove such content in advance as opposed to being reactive.

Even after the social network took down the video and deleted the shooter's account, the clip spread across the internet.

"Including the views during the live broadcast, the video was viewed about 4,000 times in total before being removed from Facebook". "The events in Christchurch raise the question, if the site owners can target consumers with advertising in microseconds, why can't the same technology be applied to prevent this kind of content being streamed live?"

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"The video was widely available on your platforms well after the attack, despite calls from New Zealand authorities to take these videos down", he wrote.

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"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.

A Facebook spokesman said the company "will brief the committee soon".

However, it's less clear how these systems apply to Facebook's live streaming.

"Before we were alerted to the video, a user on 8chan posted a link to a copy of the video on a file-sharing site".

This combination of images shows logos for companies from left, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

The group said it's shared the "digital fingerprints" of more than 800 visually-distinct attack videos to its shared database. "This incident highlights the importance of industry cooperation regarding the range of terrorists and violent extremists operating online".

Zuckerberg said Facebook will start to emphasize new privacy-shielding messaging services, a shift apparently meant to blunt both criticism of the company's data handling and potential antitrust action.

Stamos estimated the big tech companies are blocking more than 99 percent of the videos from being uploaded, "which is not enough to make it impossible to find".

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