Published: Thu, March 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Facebook and YouTube defend response to Christchurch videos

Facebook and YouTube defend response to Christchurch videos

Facebook - and other social media operators - have faced stern criticism and political pressure over the past few days to prevent access to first-person video of the attack on two mosques in the New Zealand city. In a news release, Facebook revealed that its first report of the revolting 17 minutes of footage didn't come in until 12 minutes after the broadcast was over - almost 30 minutes after it began.

YouTube said it had tried to keep on top of the unprecedented number of videos uploaded, eventually going so far as to eject human reviewers from the loop in order to let automated systems take down more videos instantly. "It's hard not to conclude that they are doing it deliberately to prevent Facebook from stopping it for at least a period of time".

Germany introduced a law in 2018 that gives authorities the power to fine social media platforms if they fail to quickly remove hate speech.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she has been in contact with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to ensure the video is entirely scrubbed from the platform.

"It is horrendous and while they've given us those assurances, ultimately the responsibility does with with them".

Major advertisers have suspended their social media advertising and the country's telcos have asked for Google, Facebook and Twitter to "urgently discuss" a solution to the problem of videos such as live footage of the Christchurch shootings being upload and shared on their platforms.

Facebook officials said they took down the original stream after it had been watched about 4000 times.

"They are the publisher, not just the postman".

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Before the company was alerted to the video, a user on 8chan had already posted a link to copy of it on a file sharing site, Sonderby said.

A U.S. congressional panel said Tuesday it was asking top executives from USA tech firms to explain the proliferation online of the "horrific" video of deadly attacks in New Zealand that were streamed on Facebook and then reposted on other platforms.

"The form of distribution, the tools of organization, they are new", Ardern said. "There can not be a case of all profit, no responsibility".

Vaidhyanathan said Facebook's live video feature has turned into a beast that Facebook can do little about "short of flipping the switch". A report by The Guardian found that one video stayed on Facebook for six hours and another on YouTube for three.

"This incident highlights the importance of industry co-operation regarding the range of terrorists and violent extremists operating online", it said.

Those reports are then sent to human reviewers who decide what action to take, the company said in a video in November, which also outlined how it uses "computer vision" to detect 97 percent of graphic violence before anyone reports it.

A Microsoft representative said the company received the chairman's letter "and we're ready to work with him, the committee and with others to address the issues he raises".

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