Police urge people to stop sharing that Christchurch shooter video online
Police have asked for a live streamed video of a shooting to not be shared.
Police have asked for a live streamed video of a shooting to not be shared.

Image: PETE MARSDEN/AFP/Getty ImageS

2016%252f09%252f16%252fe7%252fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lzex.0f9e7.jpg%252f90x90By Johnny Lieu

In a clear act of terror, multiple people have died after gunmen opened fire at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday.

New Zealand Police said four suspects are in custody, and that the situation is ongoing.

The city is in lockdown, and the incident has already been described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

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It’s also been reported that one of the attacks was live streamed online on YouTube and Facebook, although the original videos have been since taken down. Clips of the disturbing attack continue to be shared online, and inexplicably, broadcast by news outlets. 

With the right keywords, it’s easy to find the disturbing video through a cursory search of social media. Mashable found at least several videos of the attack on YouTube and Twitter.

It appears these platforms cannot keep up, as people re-upload and repost the footage, allowing it to quickly spread around the internet, effectively amplifying the shooter’s hate. 

YouTube, Facebook and Twitter so far failing to stop the proliferation of the Christchurch shooting video. It’s spreading, being re-posted, re-filmed. None of the tools they’ve implemented move fast enough. (Many media outlets also failing dismally to make the right choice.)

— Ariel Bogle (@arielbogle) March 15, 2019

The New Zealand massacre was livestreamed on Facebook, announced on 8chan, reposted on YouTube, commentated about on Reddit, and mirrored around the world before the tech companies could even react.

— Drew Harwell (@drewharwell) March 15, 2019

As if to show how hard the task of moderation is, I’m watching videos of the incident be uploaded and taken down and then uploaded again in real time. Truly disturbing.

— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) March 15, 2019

Whatever they are doing, I was able to find versions of the video on YouTube and Instagram within less than 60 seconds. It’s not enough.

— Sheera Frenkel (@sheeraf) March 15, 2019

Police have asked for people to stop sharing the footage, and that it was looking to get as much of it removed.

Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online. We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.

— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019

Google said it’s working to remove the footage as soon as possible from YouTube, and it would work closely with authorities to provide assistance. 

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy. Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and is removed as soon as we become aware of it. As with any major tragedy, we will work cooperatively with the authorities,” Google’s spokesperson said.

Twitter said it would proactively work “to remove the video content from the service,” while Reddit said it would remove any content containing links to the video stream. Facebook said it was working with law enforcement to continually remove the video.

“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this horrendous act. New Zealand 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,” Facebook’s spokesperson said.

Facebook said it would also be removing any praise or support for the crime, the shooters “as soon as we’re aware.”

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