The horrific mass shootings at New Zealand mosques have ignited strong demands for YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to regulate violent hate speech on their platforms.
The shootings have left at least 49 people dead and
It is clear that online platforms played a huge roll in these shootings. One of the shooters even
There’s strong demand for online platforms to better regulate hate speech
The Facebook live stream video has been taken down, though it’s not known how quickly Facebook deleted it. Facebook spokeswoman Mia Garlick said: “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.”
As for Twitter, the platform disabled the profile of the alleged attacker. YouTube also reported it’s
Nevertheless, there’s still content that people can get access to, even a couple of hours after the shooting. For instance, some have dropped the video or posted text of the manifesto. The availability of this content makes law enforcement worried there could be copycat crimes.
Sajid Javid, Britain’s Home Secretary, who controls public safety and security, directly called out the social media platforms. He demanded they do more to stop this kind of violence from being spread online. He tweeted: “You really need to do more @YouTube @Google @facebook @Twitter to stop violent extremism being promoted on your platforms. Take some ownership. Enough is enough.”
Would stricter regulations have prevented the New Zealand shootings?
This begs the question though: Would the shootings have been prevented if Facebook and other platforms had done more to remove hate speech from their platforms? The answer is unclear, but it would have for sure prevented the hateful propaganda from spreading. The social media platforms may not be the direct cause of the New Zealand Shootings. However, we certainly can say they’re playing a significant role in spreading the attacker’s hateful rhetoric.
Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this horrific event.