Facebook promises to change rules after Christchurch shooting livestreamed

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The Christchurch mosque shootings were two consecutive terrorist attacks at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019. The attacks began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton at 1:40 pm, and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre at about 1:55 pm The gunman live-streamed the first attack on Facebook Live.

Three suspects are in custody after the attack.

Schools in the city were placed under lockdown for several hours, and residents were urged to stay indoors after reports of mass shootings reached the police. Mosques were urged to close their doors.

At around 1:40pm local time (8:40pm ET March 14), police responded to reports of shots fired in central Christchurch.

A 17-minute video shared on social media, and since taken down, appeared to show part of the attack from the shooter’s perspective.

The clip appears to have been filmed from a helmet camera worn by the gunman and begins behind the wheel of a car as he drives to the city’s Masjid Al Noor Mosque, according to the New York Times. The attacker then enters the mosque on foot and begins shooting. “There wasn’t even time to aim, there was so many targets,” he says on the video at one point

Police said they were aware of “extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online” and urged people not to share the link. The Times noted that despite new safeguards the video “could be found on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram more than an hour after being posted.”

Facebook Authorities

Facebook\’s VP and deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby has released a statement claiming the video of the mosque attacks was watched fewer than 200 times when it was live streamed.

\”No users reported the video during the live broadcast. Including the views during the live broadcast, the video was viewed about 4000 times in total before being removed from Facebook,\” Sonderby said.

The statement says the first Facebook user reported the original video 29 minutes after it started and 12 minutes after the live broadcast ended.

Facebook says that before it was alerted to the video, a user on 8chan posted a link to a copy of the video on a file-sharing site.

\”We removed the original Facebook Live video and hashed it so that other shares that are visually similar to that video are then detected and automatically removed from Facebook and Instagram,\” Sonderby said.

\”Some variants such as screen recordings were more difficult to detect, so we expanded to additional detection systems including the use of audio technology.\”

The personal accounts of the named suspect were removed from Facebook and Instagram and \”imposter accounts\” are being removed.


leadership can matter in a crisis, particularly when backed with action. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s immediate declaration about the Muslim victims—“they are us”—is an excellent beginning and shows how a leader can use a tragedy to bring a reeling country together. To go beyond rhetoric, Ardern should ask New Zealanders to accept more Muslim migrants to show that violence not only fails but will backfire.

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