Internet companies have all been rushing to take down copies of the footages of the New Zealand mass shooter from their websites, and tech giant Facebook is showing just how hard that task has been. Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand has reported that in the first 24 hours after the mass shooting, the social network removed approximately 1.5 million attack videos across the globe. She said that 1.2 million of which were stopped at the upload stage. Garlick said that the videos include versions which were edited to remove the graphic footage of the shootings. She says that the move signifies the intention of the company to both respect the people who were affected by the murders and the “concerns of local authorities.”
The shooter was wearing a head-mounted camera in order to live stream the attack. In his social media posts and manifesto, he suggested that he wanted to stoke the tensions that backed his anti-immigrant agenda. There have been some concerns that in addition to traumatizing viewers, spreading the said video is granting the attacker the exposure that he aimed for.
While the removal rate implies that Facebook is having attaining success taking down the video, it also reveals just how hard it can be to restrain the spread of materials such as this one. After all, approximately 300,000 copies made it to the site before they have been taken down. The existing mix of automated and human moderation of the company can only do so much when it is relatively easy to upload a video or make edits that can the content filters of the website. Facebook and other internet companies may end up reviewing their methods to examine if they can speed up the removals of videos and make it more difficult to spread footages such as the aforementioned video in the first place.