The horrific attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand has shaken the world but what has become perhaps as infamous is the live stream created by the attacker on the Facebook, which clearly showed the attack in its entirety. Facebook removed the live stream video, but it had now emerged that the video had been watched 4000 times before it was taken down and copies of the video exist online. The file had been downloaded and placed on an ‘alt-right’ website, that led to even more views of the dreadful video.
According to statements from the company, they had removed any video that even looks visually similar to the original stream and in total they have removed 300,000 videos. However, what is more, alarming is that the company deleted as many as 1.2 million copies of the video. Vice-president of Facebook, Chris Sonderby stated,
“We continue to work around the clock to prevent this content from appearing on our site, using a combination of technology and people.”
However, this latest issue would not win Facebook any new friends as their previous problems related to fake news political advertising and users’ privacy breaches continue to make the headlines.
The latest crisis has seen the company being criticized by leaders from all over the world and many urged Facebook to be more responsible with the sort of content that is published on the platform. Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, was particularly scathing in her criticism of the social media giant. She did not allow Facebook to hide behind the usual excuse of not having any control over what users posted on the platform. She stated that Facebook is a publisher and not a postman, which is why it is responsible for what is posted on its website. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison went so far as to state that internet companies seemed to have an unfettered role in terrorist attacks in this day and age. In a letter to the Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, he stated,
“It is unacceptable to treat the internet as an ungoverned space. It is imperative that the global community works together to ensure that technology firms meet their moral obligation to protect the communities which they serve and from which they profit.”
It is the latest crises for the company and one that could haunt it for a long time.