Lots in the news the past several days about the attack in a New Zealand mosque where fifty people were senselessly gunned down. It appears that terrorist, who was one of several involved in the attack, has been apprehended. He used Facebook’s “FB Live” feature to broadcast the gruesome attack. The entire savage attack was live for its entirety and not removed until twelve minutes later, after viewers had reported it to Facebook. So a seventeen minute attack, plus twelve minutes before it was removed means that it was viewed for nearly a half an hour.
The New York Times reports:
According to the social network, the graphic, high-definition video of the attack was uploaded by users 1.5 million times in the first 24 hours. Of those 1.5 million copies of the video, Facebook’s automatic detection systems automatically blocked 1.2 million. That left roughly 300,000 copies ricocheting around the platform to be viewed, liked, shared and commented on by Facebook’s more than two billion users.
So what level of responsibility do social media outlets have in such matters as these? One of the attractive features of most platforms is that they allow users to share simultaneously their thoughts, pictures, videos, and in this case, lives feeds. It would seem nearly impossible to me for them to have complete control at all times over what people choose to share. And while I think most people share in a kind-hearted type of way, there are those who would choose to use it for displaying violent behaviors. How would social media outlets be able to know instantaneously that someone was posting something so horrid? They received word of this event a full twelve minutes after the event had ended. And by then many, had shared and reshared the video.
It seems that Facebook did the right thing once they found the video existed online. And while it could be said that the gunman used their live feature to make himself known, the platform itself can’t be faulted.
Perhaps the evolution of technology and social media is moving at such a pace that it’s become nearly impossible to monitor it all. And people, even someone as abhorrent as the New Zealand gunman, are going to use it to promote their own cause, even when it involves mass murder.
I don’t fault the social media outlets for the attack. Perhaps we need to look more closely at all the people who saw the live feed of the attack and did not report it…and even moreso, those who chose to share it. Perhaps education of users needs to take place so events such as this one don’t receive so much publicity when they do occur.
Just my thoughts on the matter….Your comments are welcome and appreciated.