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YouTube takes down tens of thousands of New Zealand attack videos

A worker grieves at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Rd in Christchurch, New Zealand, Mar. 19, 2019. EPA-EFE/MICK TSIKAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

A worker grieves at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor Mosque on Deans Rd in Christchurch, New Zealand, Mar. 19, 2019. EPA-EFE/MICK TSIKAS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

EFE

YouTube on Monday announced that it has removed tens of thousands of videos of last week’s Christchurch mosque shooting from its platform.

The video of the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, that killed 50 and injured another 50, was streamed live on Facebook by the attacker.

In a statement, Google parent Alphabet Inc said that the number of videos of the attack uploaded by users, apart from the original streaming, which was taken down immediately, is unprecedented in terms of its reach and the speed with which it spread.

The speed with which the videos were posted on YouTube after the attack spiraled into a new upload every second, the company said.

It further added that those accounts, which were glorifying the incident had been eliminated.

Although the usual procedure of the company to determine whether a content should be eliminated upon violating its terms of use includes human observers, who review a shortlist by an artificial intelligence system, in this case, YouTube did away with those formalities and automatically rejected footage of the attack to speed up the process.

The fact that the attacks were streamed live had brought renewed focus on the role of social media platforms in the aftermath of such incidents.

“The video was viewed fewer than 200 times during the live broadcast. No users reported the video during the live broadcast,” Facebook said of the live stream by the attacker.

It further added that the first user report came 29 minutes after the video stream began and 12 minutes after the live stream had ended.

In the following 24 hours, Facebook took down a million and a half copies of the video of which 1.2 million were removed from the platform before more users could watch them.

A New Zealand judge had charged a teenager under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classifications Act of 1993 for distributing the footage of the shootings.

He was also charged for posting miscellaneous material a week before the attack took place, including images of the mosque with the words “target identified” and other messages that incited violence.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, who police believe was solely responsible for the attack, will remain in custody until he appears before the judge on Apr. 5.


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