As Home Sec­re­tary damns web gi­ant for live stream­ing mosque ter­ror at­tacks that killed 49 in New Zealand...

Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Sam Green­hill, Kather­ine Rush­ton and Richard Shears

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


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