MASSACRE SHAME OF FACEBOOK
As Home Secretary damns web giant for live streaming mosque terror attacks that killed 49 in New Zealand...
SOCIAL media giants were condemned yesterday for letting the mosque killer ‘live stream’ his massacre.
Brenton Tarrant filmed himself while murdering worshippers and his gut-wrenching footage quickly spread on the internet.
Forty-nine men, women and children were shot dead at two mosques in New Zealand’s worst ever mass killing. Another 48 innocents were wounded.
Police tipped off technology bosses shortly after the Christchurch carnage began streaming on ‘Facebook Live’.
But the film was deleted only after it had been running for 17 minutes – enough time for sick users to copy the footage and repost it across the web.
Twitter and YouTube also failed to remove copies of the 28-year-old white supremacist’s sickening film.
Ordering the online giants to take immediate action, Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared: ‘Enough is enough.’
Neil Basu, Scotland Yard’s anti-terror commander, said it was ‘apparent that companies need to act more quickly to
remove this content from their platforms’.
Tarrant, a self-proclaimed racist bent on ethnically cleansing ‘white lands’ of Muslim ‘invaders’, used a head-mounted camera as he shot dead 41 defenceless worshippers at the Al Noor mosque yesterday.
Seven more were murdered at Linwood Islamic Centre, three miles away. Another died in hospital later. The youngest victim was reportedly just five years old. Tarrant, who was arrested after police rammed his car, is due to appear in court today.
Copies of the graphic massacre video were still easy to find on Facebook and Twitter 16 hours after the atrocity. They were harder to locate on Google’s YouTube platform. The footage also spread to Reddit.
Mr Javid told Google, Facebook and Twitter last night: ‘You really need to do more to stop violent extremism being promoted on your platforms. Take some ownership.’
Downing Street also called for the web firms to take faster action, with a spokesman saying: ‘All companies need to act more quickly to remove terrorist content. There should be no safe spaces for terrorists to promote and share their extreme views and radicalise others.’
Yvette Cooper, the Labour chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said the firms were ‘big enough and rich enough’ to fix the problem of terror on their platforms. She added: ‘For the sick video live streamed by the perpetrator still to be available on YouTube and Facebook hours later is shocking and shows that these big social media companies just haven’t got a grip.’
One copy, posted on Twitter by a user called Usman, remained online for more than eight hours and was seen by more than 25,000 people.
Mr Basu said: ‘I would like to reiterate New Zealand Police’s request that people and organisations refrain from circulating footage of the attack online.
‘ Sharing terrorist propaganda serves only to cause harm and is seized upon by extremists seeking to divide communities. Furthermore, dissemination of such material may result in a criminal investigation.’
A Facebook spokesman said: ‘New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the live stream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video.
‘We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police.’
Twitter said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the shootings in Christchurch. Twitter has rigorous processes and a dedicated team in place for managing exigent and emergency situations such as this.’
Google said: ‘Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and is removed as soon as we become aware of it.’
Police stepped up patrols at British mosques yesterday to provide reassurance.
In a 74-page ‘manifesto’ published online, Australia-born Tarrant named British wartime fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley as his greatest inspiration and ranted about his hatred for Muslims.
He travelled in Europe two years ago and is now being investigated by MI5 over possible links to Right- wing extremists in Britain, The Times reported last night.
Police in Christchurch also defused explosive devices in a car, and two other suspects were being held in custody.
The Bangladesh Test cricket side were close to one of the mosques targeted by the terrorist – just as the attack started. Team manager Khaled Mashud said: ‘We were maximum 50 yards away. We are very lucky. If we were there three to four minutes earlier, we would have been in the mosque.’
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern last night pledged gun law reform, including a ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons.
WAKING up yesterday to news of the massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, everyone’s thoughts will have been for the victims mercilessly slain during a solemn act of worship, for their grieving families and friends and for a fellow Commonwealth country in mourning. The reports described scenes of unimaginable horror. A lone gunman burst in on Friday prayers and began executing a defenceless congregation, leaving 49 Muslims dead and dozens more injured.
Rightly, the attack – carried out in a tolerant and peaceful Western nation – has sparked renewed concern over the rise of far-Right extremism here in Britain.
This ideology is every bit as poisonous as the one peddled by Islamic State fanatics and has inspired several plots in the past year – all thankfully thwarted by the police and security services.
Yes, ours is an overwhelmingly tolerant nation but it should go without saying that this toxic hatred of Muslims must be stamped out wherever it is found.
Responsibility for this evil act lies with the killer, identified as Australian national and white supremacist Brenton Tarrant.
But this killing spree has also – once again – exposed the staggering failures of the internet giants to take down terrorist material. Not only did Facebook enable Tarrant to broadcast his attack live, it also allowed a 17-minute head-cam recording of the horror – resembling a gory video game – to spread like wildfire.
At one point, the blood-soaked footage appeared on (Google-owned) YouTube with just an ‘inappropriate’ warning flag attached – and astonishingly, it was still available to view on Facebook and Twitter more than 16 hours after the attack.
Predictably, these multi-billion- dollar corporations were quick to claim they were doing everything possible to take the material down. Home Secretary Sajid Javid rightly put them in their place, insisting they must ‘take ownership’.
There seems little likelihood of that. Despite countless warnings, these sites remain homes for obscene, violent and extremist material where would-be fanatics can flock with impunity.
The Mail has long accepted the benefits of online technology, but the digital behemoths are, unquestionably, failing to face up to the social responsibilities that come with their awesome power.
This week an incisive report, commissioned by Chancellor Philip Hammond and written by Professor Jason Furman, revealed their overwhelming market dominance, and offered constructive solutions – including a thorough probe by competition regulators.
That would be a good first step, and we await with interest the long-delayed White Paper on internet harms. After years of broken promises, the web giants have run out of chances to reform.
Evil: Brenton Tarrant filmed himself in his car moments before his murder spree