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Home Secretary Sajid Javid warns social media platforms over New Zealand mosques massacre footage

16th March 2019

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Note: This post has been moved from Latest Picks due to length of extended updates.

Christchurch shootings: [Home Secretary] Sajid Javid warns tech giants over footage (bbc.co.uk).

Sajid Javid: “You really need to do more @YouTube @Google @facebook @Twitter…”
Writing in the Daily Express, Mr Javid said: “Tech companies must do more to stop [a gunman who killed 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand] messages being broadcast.”

The attack live-streamed on Facebook and the video lasting for 17 minutes, half of which being of him driving to the mosque in his car with anti-Islam graffitied guns and ammo magazines conspicuously displayed on and beside him and even posing for an in vehicle selfie. Despite the original video being taken down it quickly popped up on other platforms leaving them all playing whack-a-mole but with it also finding quickly a home on various ad revenue funded sensationalist gore sites, many with a compatible anti-multicultural doctrine.

Mr Javid urged people to stop viewing and sharing the “sick material” online, adding: “It is wrong and it is illegal.

“Online platforms have a responsibility not to do the terrorists’ work for them.”

A “responsibility” they cannot agree to the burden of lest they become publisher rather than Web 2.0 platform for users to upload content they would not have otherwise have.

[Javid] added that the government was trying to address this type of “illegal” behaviour.

No doubt adopting the wide legged Tory power stance (Google Images) but not quite as eager to announce he may ban them altogether as ego-bruised Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock recently did over self-harm instructions on Instagram (related stories below).

All of the social media firms sent messages of sympathy to the victims of the mass shootings, reiterating that they act quickly to remove inappropriate content.

Updated 17th March 2019

After the proliferation of the New Zealand shooting video, Reddit has banned two channels showing human death (buzzfeednews.com).

The social network moved to eliminate the /r/watchpeopledie and /r/gore subreddits less than 24 hours after a shooter killed at least 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch and streamed the event live on Facebook. Internet users were able to capture the video before Facebook took it down, uploading clips of the incident on platforms including Twitter and YouTube. People then shared links to those videos in the now-banned Reddit groups, which critics and some Reddit users had questioned for years.

With a Reddit spokesperson defending its carriage of the subreddits until attention was turned to them by saying they were “allowed on the site because it provided a service to members—some of whom the company said were medical professionals or first responders—to learn about or cope with death” rather than then being the virtual equivalent of car crash all turn to look at that started with alt.binaries.pictures.tasteless on Usenet when AOL and Compuserve still bundled a dozen discs a week through your letterbox and at least one of those “medical professionals or first responders” cheerily greeting community with knowledge that they are indeed monkey’s uncle too.

Updated 19th March 2019

Facebook defends its handling of mosque shooting footage and says NOT ONE of roughly 200 people who watched the 17-minute livestream flagged the video to moderators (dailymail.co.uk).

Facebook says none of the 200 or so people who watched live video of the New Zealand mosque shooting flagged it to moderators, underlining the challenge tech companies face in policing violent or disturbing content in real time.

There obviously not yet being an appropriate equivalent of their notorious nipple checker bot to mistake people pointing bananas at each other rather than granny’s nipplicious Simnel cake thus requiring that community moderation to alert their “cleaners” army of Manila-based moderators earning the equivalent of the equivalent of $1 to $3 an hour (mercurynews.com, Oct. 2018).

It said the gunman’s live 17-minute broadcast was viewed fewer than 200 times and the first user report didn’t come in until 12 minutes after it ended.

Perhaps because the first half of it being of him driving to the first mosque with the radio on made it TL;DW for many who click the the social media equivalent of Chatroulette’s next cam if not sufficiently entertained to make a meme in less time than the attention span of a goldfish (bbc.co.uk, Mar. 2017). But while “no users reported the video during the live broadcast” seemingly watched by only 200 or so by the time it was removed “within minutes” after being alerted by police rather than community, with instructions to “contact law enforcement in your area if someone is in immediate danger” being instruction when “report live video” is clicked, had been watched “about 4,000 times in total before being taken down”.

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, [Facebook’s deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby] said.

Updated 27th March 2019

Despite its none really watched or reported it defense, seemingly in reply to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’ assertion that social networks were “the publisher not just the postman”:

Facebook to ban white nationalism and separatism (bbc.co.uk).

Facebook has said it will block “praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism” on Facebook and Instagram from next week.

Updated 31st March 2019

Mark Zuckerberg calls for government and regulators role in updating rules of the of internet (Latest Picks 31st March 2019).

The firm’s founder and chief executive said there was a need for governments and regulators to have “a more active role”

Seemingly designating governments and regulators the Sisyphean red tape tying task of identifying and codifying exactly what is and is not harmful.

Updated 4th April 2019

Australia passes social media law penalising platforms for violent content (theguardian.com).

The Australian parliament has passed legislation to crack down on violent videos on social media, despite furious reaction from the tech industry, media companies and legal experts.

“Furious reaction” which stopped the ruling Liberal-National Coalition and Labor opposition passing the law despite it seemingly not going as far as targeting social media bosses themselves for platform failings as proposed.

Penalties for individuals who “provide a hosting service” and fail to remove material can be up to three years imprisonment or a $2.1m fine, or both. Labor believes these penalties will not apply to executives of social media companies because giants like Facebook and Twitter—not the individuals themselves—provide the service.

Updated 10th April 2019

And New Zealand while a judge has ordered the shooter to undergo mental health checks to see if he is fit to stand trial (abcnews.go.com) follows through with Prime Minister Ardern‘s promise that “our gun laws will change”:

Christchurch shootings: New Zealand MPs vote to change gun laws (bbc.co.uk).

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Parliament
Holding back tears, she told parliament on Wednesday that MPs were there “because of the victims and families”. She said that when she had visited the injured in hospital none of them had had just one gunshot wound.

The gun reform bill passing 119-1 and prohibiting military-style semi-automatic weapons and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms, with Ardern conceding no ground to The Second Amendment sophistry used by NRA lobbyists in the US regards need to have an assault rifle to bag a Kevlar-armoured dear or shoot neighbor’s damn ball should it invade your backyard: “These weapons were designed to kill, and they were designed to maim and that is what they did on the 15th of March.”

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