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New Zealand Mosque Shooter Sent Manifesto To Government, Media Before Killings

17 March 2019

Shootings at two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques on Friday have reignited debate over social media's handling of violent and extremist content.

As of writing, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, have reportedly wiped most of the copies of the video from their platforms - though when exactly they managed to take it down and how much time it took remains unclear.

Facebook said it removed the stream after being alerted to it by New Zealand police. "We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware", she told CNN.

"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by the horrendous shootings in New Zealand".

About 70 others also received the screed moments before Friday attacks, including National Leader Simon Bridges and domestic and worldwide media, the New Zealand Herald reported.

"A person involved with the attacks also appeared to post regularly to the "/pol/ - Politically Incorrect" forum on 8chan, a online discussion site known for allowing virtually any content, including hate speech. "We are working to have any footage removed", wrote New Zealand police on Twitter.

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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. "There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque", he said.

All platforms encourage reporting such videos.

Meanwhile, tech companies such as Facebook were working to take down the video, Fox News reported.

New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs said people posting the video online risked breaking the law.

Shares of Facebook closed down 2.5 per cent on Friday.

Facebook yesterday acknowledged the challenge and said it was responding to new user reports.

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The videos show the gunman driving to one mosque, entering and shooting randomly at people inside.

Because it's 2019, and livestreaming has had five years or so to really build up into a mainstream activity that people actually do, this means that horrific acts of violence and terror around the world have a greater-than-zero chance of having some video component attached to them. The platforms have also been used for videos showing police brutality.

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. "This is a case where you're giving a platform for hate".

"Social media has certainly shifted global security risks", said Anwita Basu, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

In August previous year, a shooting at a Madden NFL 19 video-game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, was captured on live video. Facebook says it does not want to act as a censor, as videos of violence, such as those documenting police brutality or the horrors of war, can serve an important objective.

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New Zealand Mosque Shooter Sent Manifesto To Government, Media Before Killings