Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Facebook, YouTube blindsided by mosque shooter's live video

Facebook, YouTube blindsided by mosque shooter's live video

One of the shooters appeared to have live-streamed the attacks on Facebook that purportedly showed a gunman walking into a mosque and opening fire on the prayers.

"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 said on its Twitter account. "We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware", Facebook said in a statement.

Mia Garlick, of Facebook in New Zealand, said, "We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues".

But hours after the attack ended and the gunman was in custody, the video continued to spread around the world as people watched and shared it on social media.

Reacting to a tweet in which YouTube claimed it was working to remove the footage, Mr Javid said YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter "really need to do more to stop violent extremism being promoted on your platforms".

Alex Zhukov, founder and chief technology officer of LIVE4 developer VideoGorillas, said the LIVE4 services transmitted footage directly to Facebook and his company did not have the ability to review it first. Police said a fourth person was arrested Friday but that was "not related to these events".

On internet discussion forum Reddit, users actively planned and strategised to avoid the actions of content moderators, directing each other to sharing platforms which had yet to take action and sharing downloaded copies of the video privately. Earlier a year ago, YouTube star Logan Paul posted a clip of a dead body hanging from a tree in Japan, prompting the Google-owned video portal to remove his channels from a preferred advertising program.

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Shares of Facebook closed down 2.5 per cent on Friday.

In footage that at times resembled scenes from a first-person shooter video game, the mosque shooter was seen spraying terrified worshippers with bullets, sometimes re-firing at people he had already cut down. In another case, the video was shared by a verified Instagram user in Indonesia with more than 1.6 million followers.

At one point, the shooter even paused to give a shout-out to one of YouTube's top personalities, known as PewDiePie, with tens of millions of followers, who has made jokes criticized as anti-Semitic and posted Nazi imagery in his videos.

Facebook, YouTube and other social-media platforms are struggling to scrub offensive content from sites that generate billions of dollars in revenue from advertisers.

In 2017, a father in Thailand broadcast himself killing his daughter on Facebook Live. That same year, a video of a man shooting and killing another in Cleveland, Ohio, also shocked viewers.

U.S. President Donald Trump posted a tweet condemning the "horrible massacre", as did former leader Barack Obama.

"There is no fool-proof way to catch acts of violence on video or images with the technology that we have today", she said.

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