World

Facebook scrubs 1.5 mn Christchurch attack videos but criticism goes viral

Christchurch

Facebook says it removed a staggering 1.5 million videos showing harrowing viral footage of the Christchurch mosque rampage but criticism of social media giants for failing to block images of the “real-time terror attack” is also spreading fast.

As the alleged gunman callously picked off his victims in Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque, he livestreamed the gruesome scene on Facebook Live, apparently using a camera mounted on his body, after also tweeting a racist “manifesto.”

Facebook said it “quickly” removed the video, plus the gunman’s account and Instagram, and in the first 24 hours scrubbed 1.5 million videos worldwide “of which 1.2 million were blocked at upload.” Spokeswoman Mia Garlick from Facebook New Zealand said the firm was “working around the clock to remove violating content using a combination of technology and people.”
But despite pleas — and official orders from authorities — not to share the content, the footage proliferated widely online and experts said the 17-minute video was easily retrievable several hours after the attack that killed 50 people.

According to Facebook’s own figures, at least 3,00,000 videos were not blocked before being uploaded and there is no official data on how many times these were viewed or shared.