1.5 million videos of Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand removed by Facebook

Christophe Simon, AFP | An illustration shows a person posing during a photo session showing the social platform Facebook logo reflected in the pupil of an eye on April 25, 2018, in Paris.

Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos globally of the Christchurch mosque attack in New Zealand in the first 24 hours after the attack.


"In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload," Facebook said in a tweet late Saturday.

The company said it is also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content out of respect for the people affected by the mosque shooting and the concerns of local authorities.

The death toll in the New Zealand mosque shootings rose to 50 on Sunday. The gunman who attacked two mosques on Friday live-streamed the attacks on Facebook for 17 minutes using an app designed for extreme sports enthusiasts, with copies still being shared on social media hours later.

Images of the attack were also shared on WhatsApp and Instagram, two services owned by Facebook, as well as on Twitter and YouTube.

“The perpetrator was highly reliant on social media – not only for inspiration – but also in the way that he’s used a GoPro cam to livestream the attack and, immediately prior to the attack, sent out his manifesto and stored it in a number of areas so that it couldn’t be quickly taken down,” said Dr Joshua Roose, a senior research fellow at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, in an interview with FRANCE 24.

“That [manifesto] spread far, and then the video spread far and wide, and may never be successfully taken down,” Roose continued. “So social media companies – which have played a role in this, albeit not through their intent – have something to answer for and need to act further to prevent this.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she wants to discuss the issue of live streaming with Facebook.

The distressing footage of the Christchurch shootings were not only disseminated on social media. Sky New Zealand pulled Sky News Australia off its network on Saturday because the latter was broadcasting video clips from the shooter’s Facebook livestream.


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