Tech giants accused of inciting violence for hosting mosque shooter's livestream

by Vomle Springford / 19 March, 2019
facebook christchurch shooting video

Social media platforms are under fire for allowing the Christchurch shooter's livestream to be distributed.

Facebook, Google and other tech platforms are being condemned for hosting the Christchurch shooter's video.

Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who broke the Cambridge Analytica scandal, told Radio NZ's Morning Report Facebook and Google were inciting violence by allowing the video to be live-streamed. 

Facebook has since removed 1.5 million videos of the attacks, which the gunman live-streamed but many more videos still exist online.

Mia Garlick from Facebook New Zealand made a statement on Twitter saying:

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

Many New Zealanders have called for Facebook to shut down their livestream service, including major companies who have pulled advertising from the social media platform.

Former CEO of Facebook Australia & NZ Stephen Scheeler said Facebook could "turn off live-streaming tomorrow if they wanted to" and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would push for a global crackdown on social media at the upcoming G20 summit.

Cadwalladr told Radio NZ Facebook was responsible for distributing the disturbing video around the world. 

"I personally believe they are responsible for criminal content here – Facebook and Google – because it's an incitement of violence. We know these videos encourage others to violence, just as we know that the gunman in this case was encouraged by [Anders] Breivik in Norway."

She believes they should have turned off all uploads if they could not control what was going out on the platform, and she urged the New Zealand government to hold the tech platforms to account like Germany has done.

Germany passed a law in 2017 to fine Facebook for failing to remove hate speech or content that incites terrorism within 24 hours. 

Videos of the shooting have been edited and re-distributed and are still being shared online despite Facebook's actions.

A Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson says people who share the video of the shooting are likely to be committing an offence and to report videos.

“If you see this video or any objectionable material online, you can help take it down by reporting the incident to the online platform it is hosted by. All social media platforms have a complaints function you can follow.

“We are aware that people may have unsuspectingly viewed the video on social media platforms thinking it is a media article, so please be vigilant of images that yourself and those around you are viewing, particularly our young people.”

If you or someone you know has viewed the video and are struggling with what you have seen please see 1737 ‘Need to talk’ or free call or text 1737.

If you are concerned that something you have seen may be objectionable, contact the Censorship team.

Donate to the Christchurch victim's fund here.


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