Facebook changes livestream rules after New Zealand shooting

Erika Holt
May 16, 2019

Ardern announced a ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines only days after the March 15 mass shootings on two mosques in Christchurch that claimed 51 lives.

A "one-strike" policy at Facebook Live will be applied to a broader range of offences, with those who violate serious policies suspended from using the feature after a single offence. It noted that while it was trying to take down the killer's video of the Christchurch attack, edited versions were being posted "not always intentionally" by Facebook users. Facebook, Google and Twitter each have hired thousands of reviewers and created new artificial-intelligence tools with the goal of thwarting hate speech, extremism and terrorism online. "New Zealand had its experience, and changed its laws", she said.

It comes after Facebook announced on Tuesday evening that it would begin banning users who don't respect its guidelines around live-streaming events.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to use her time in Paris to call on governments and social media companies to work together in blocking hateful content. Tech giants will be asked to agree to a "Christchurch Call", to more aggressively combat violent content, according to the New York Times. Facebook was able to purge 1.5 million uploads of the video and 1.2 million were blocked before going live on the platform.

"Although we deployed a number of techniques to eventually find these variants, including video and audio matching technology, we realised that this is an area where we need to invest in further research".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to sign an worldwide pledge in Paris Wednesday aimed at getting governments and social media companies working together to curb the spread of violent and extremist content online.

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"We'll do everything we can so that there is a more concrete and formal commitment, but I consider ... the fact that the USA administration said it shared the objectives and the common will as a positive element", he said. "You do not. And New Zealanders by and large absolutely agreed with that position".

The White House said it backs the "the global community in condemning terrorist and violent extremist content online" and that "we continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press".

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes made headlines last week when he called for the company to be broken up - specifically by shedding its WhatsApp and Instagram divisions - due to its "unchecked power".

Amanpour noted there have been "over 110 mass shootings in the United States since 1982 ... and 15 school shootings alone this year". They include making it easier for users to flag up inappropriate content, using enhanced vetting for livestreaming and publishing transparency reports on material that's removed.

Firms themselves will be urged to come up with concrete measures, the source said, for example by reserving live broadcasting to social media accounts whose owners have been identified. But "ultimately the regulation of these tools that transmit information should be a matter for governments, not just the whims of private companies".

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