New Zealand just witnessed its one of the most horror nights. An unprecedented attack that has shocked the second most peaceful nation in the world. At least 49 people have been killed and 20 seriously injured after gunmen opened fire in two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.
The shooter has also streamed a 17-minute video depicting his shooting rampage in real time to Facebook, with the video also uploaded to YouTube a short time after the shootings. He also uploaded a 73-page manifesto to Twitter. It was live-streamed by the gunman himself, believed to be a 28-year old Australian Brenton Tarrant.
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.
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 15, 2019
The role played by technology in such an incident is huge, the social media giants allowed the attacker to live stream the video for seventeen minutes on its platform, for millions to see.
Here's a Twitter spokesperson: "We have taken down the account of the alleged perpetrator and are working to actively remove all versions of the video from Twitter."
No response yet from YouTube.
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) March 15, 2019
However, the live-streamed massacre has since been taken down by Facebook and other media giants. Even a spokesman for Google, which owns YouTube, said it removed a video after at least 100 people had viewed it and more than six had left comments.
Our hearts are broken over today’s terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.
— YouTube (@YouTube) March 15, 2019
The attacker’s social media accounts have since been removed from three sites, as well as Instagram, but not before the video was shared on social media by other users. Incidentally, Facebook has been trumpeting the steps it has taken to clean up the content on its platform. Facebook activated a crisis response for the shooting at 1:37 pm, an hour after the attack.
Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this horrendous act – Facebook
The social media giants have come under increased global scrutiny in the past 24 months over their responsibilities in stopping hate speech and graphic content from being shared on their platforms. Though the massacre has been done some social media giants have successfully scrubbed the horrific video from their platform. All three media sites stated they would work with law enforcement regarding this incident.