back to article Click here to see the New Zealand livestream mass-murder vid! This is the internet Facebook, YouTube, Twitter built!

An Australian who murdered dozens in New Zealand on Friday livestreamed the deaths on Facebook, spinning a spotlight onto the abject failure of social media to control harmful content. The 28-year-old shooter, whose name isn't worth publishing, fired on defenseless people attending prayers at two Christchurch mosques, killing …

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        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "sometimes the laws are wrong too"

          The laws are what define criminality. If you think the laws are wrong (I take it you're the universally acknowledged arbiter of that) then their definitions will be wrong but they'll still define criminality in that particular jurisdiction.

          1. Charles 9

            But that would still give them justification (in their heads) to rise up and challenge the laws by force. After all, perceived injustice has triggered (successful) independence movements in the past, so there IS history.

      1. Eddy Ito

        On a multi-national platform, criminality is not black and white. There are no easy answers, which doesn't mean we just give up, but it does mean it'll be hard.

        With all due respect I believe you're making more of this "criminality" issue than is actually justified. There are some very universal guidelines that would be fairly easy to follow. I know of no place where murder is not considered a heinous crime and video of same has no place on the internet where it can be viewed by all and sundry.

        I agree that there are some very stupid laws like one local ordinance I'm violating right now by drinking a beer in public view. I think the sane and rational response would be a simple test such as violence and harm. Non-violent actions would get a pass as would anything that doesn't harm anyone. We probably don't want to limit things that are generally humorous in a slap stick way or instructional safety video.

        Thus stated the obvious things like murder and torture would be out and exceptions can be made if a particular thing helped in identifying the perpetrator of a crime. Of course, we can always hem and haw over the definition of harm and violence another day but workable stop gap measures likely exist.

        1. scrubber

          "it has no place on the internet"

          The internet is exactly where it belongs. Some people will avoid it, others will watch it and be outraged by it and others will masturbate to it. That's the point of the internet.

        2. Carpet Deal 'em

          > I know of no place where murder is not considered a heinous crime

          "Murder" is nothing more than criminal homicide - and what makes that "criminal" bit is something plenty of places disagree on. Cultures disagree on a lot more than you seem to realize.

      2. Allan George Dyer

        @eldakka - "Who defines criminal nature? Which countries laws are used as the basis of this? Who chooses that?"

        Where I sit, currently just outside the Great Firewall, those questions are a big concern. A few years ago, inside the Great Firewall, corruption led to the tainted baby formula scandal and babies were dying of malnutrition because melamine was added to milk powder so it passed the testing. People who spoke out were arrested for the criminal offence of spreading rumours. At the moment, I enjoy free speech; soon the local lawmakers will vote on making disrespecting the National Anthem a jailable offence. Do not complacently think that your liberal democracy is immune... China has recently pressured airlines into changing how they refer to destinations in Taiwan, China's economic might is growing, and businesses make... business decisions.

        I have been very impressed with Jacinda Ardern's response, and I hope she can follow through on tightening gun control. Australia's gun control laws made it very difficult for the gunman to get the weapons for the attack in his own country.

        1. baud

          Regarding strict gun control, it might not be useful to prevent attacks: for example France has strict laws, but it did not prevent the Paris attacks. And even without guns, one can do serious damage (see the Nice attack or the Boston marathon).

          Still I'm in favor of gun control, but saying that gun control laws will prevent all attacks is naïve.

      3. Andre Carneiro

        Interesting point, but there are some acts that are criminal pretty much everywhere you go.

        Murder is one of them.

        (I mean murder and purposefully make an exception for the death penalty which, in a sense, is institutionalised murder, but the two are easy to distinguish).

        Why not start there?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Because it's not so black-and-white. In some countries, "honor killing" is condoned in the written law. Sometimes, it's even mandatory to the effect that NOT undertaking an honor killing could be considered a capital offence in those countries.

      4. Sgt_Oddball
        Holmes

        There are some laws that are international....

        Pretty sure that murder is illegal everywhere (unless government sanctioned but even then that's only against those that can murder you back).

        Rape tends to be frowned upon and I'm pretty sure kidnapping is out.

        That being said... If we banned all illegal driving then a large number of dash cam videos would have to banned and removed, which surely is an endless bottomless pit of foolishness.

      5. jmch Silver badge

        "Which countries laws are used as the basis of this? Who chooses that?"

        True, and yet I believe mass murder is criminal in all countries. So this particular case should have been easy

      6. This post has been deleted by its author

      7. LucreLout

        On a multi-national platform, criminality is not black and white. There are no easy answers

        Completely agree. Whose law should apply - the content creator, the content publish, or the content consumer, some mix of them, or all three?

        Whatever the answer, it's certainly not as simple as the buffoon who wrote the excessively emotional article would like to think.

        From the article:

        Does this mean that, with actual proper moderation, there would be a short delay in people being able to see your cat fall off the couch, or your child do a funny dance, when you yourself post your own content on Facebook, YouTube et al? Will you have to wait a few minutes, or perhaps longer, before your 13 livestream viewers are allowed to watch you bake cookies, write code, or simply stare off into the sunset on vacation?

        Yes, yes, you will. Sorry for the inconvenience.

        The transparently obvious problem here is that moderators like to big up their role and do things that they have no business doing. Take the groan - their moderators delete any posts that don't engage with the man made global warming hysteria. Now, whether you agree with AGW or not, disagreeing that it can ever be debated IS an echo chamber, and nothing good ever came out of one of those.

        Content is created at a pace humans simply can't keep up with anymore. How many hours of youtube video is created per second now? And as posited above, even where what is being depicted is beyond doubt and illegal somewhere, with which legal framework should it be judged? In many places its illegal to be gay and in many places its illegal to discriminate on the grounds of being gay, thus creating a logical impossibility for the content host.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      > It's a very difficult balance in my opinion.

      Errr, no, it's not. Really.

    2. stiine Silver badge

      I disagree completely with this

      "Acts of a criminal nature should always and without question be banned and blocked before anyone sees them or has a chance to download or share themselves because acts of a criminal nature have been through the due process to define them."

      Which countries' laws? Saudi Arabia? Turkey? Myanmar? Russia? Egypt? France? China? The United States? The EU? Or all of them combined, in which case I think you'll find that very nearly every possible statement one could make or action one could take would be considered a crime.

      This is not a solution, its a bandaid backed by a different set of (state) weapons.

      1. Pseu Donyme

        Re: I disagree completely with this

        >Which countries' laws? ...

        To me this seems awfully simple, really: if you want to do business in a jurisdiction you do it by their laws or not at all; in case the laws conflict you need to choose where you do business.

        1. Charles 9

          Re: I disagree completely with this

          So what about transnational in MULTIPLE jurisdictions where two laws clash? What about things like the GDPR where it doesn't matter where you are because the government is on behalf of the CLIENT? What if the host's law clashes with the client's law, and each claims legal jurisdiction?

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: I disagree completely with this

            "What if the host's law clashes with the client's law, and each claims legal jurisdiction?"

            Happens all the time. Ask your local US state about long arm statutes as applied to "doing business with" or "doing business in" that state.

          2. Kiwi

            Re: I disagree completely with this

            What if the host's law clashes with the client's law, and each claims legal jurisdiction?

            Still pretty simple. If you're a US company and you wish to trade in New Zealand, then you trade under NZ law, subject to international agreements/treaties. If US law prevents you selling an item to NZ'ers, then you don't sell that item as a US company.

            It really is a pretty simple concept.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I disagree completely with this

        So are you saying social media should ignore the laws of the country it's operating in and base it's policies on an ethical and moral approach that is defined by happy world peace loving tolerant faeries?

        Hate to break it you but the world doesn't work like that and you need to start somewhere, I agree some countries have some really shitty laws and are intolerant but to espouse some utopian view of how things should be and how social media should behave is naive.

        There is a whole philosophical argument on what is right and what is wrong depending on who you ask, however that isn't the issue here, the issue is that social media should be sticking to the laws of the country it operates in regardless of how you or I feel about those laws.

        1. Charles 9

          Re: I disagree completely with this

          "There is a whole philosophical argument on what is right and what is wrong depending on who you ask, however that isn't the issue here, the issue is that social media should be sticking to the laws of the country it operates in regardless of how you or I feel about those laws."

          Oh, WHICH laws then, seeing as how they operate in numerous, often-conflicting jurisdictions simultaneously? Suppose a host's law directly clashes with a client's law, and each claims legal jurisdiction because of respective physical presence? Whose law applies?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I disagree completely with this

            You tell me which countries laws allow that video to be shared? It's all well and good attacking an idea but when you offer nothing in reply it just comes across as snarky.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I disagree completely with this

              The US, for one. There's almost nothing that's illegal to share there.

          2. sd123

            Re: I disagree completely with this

            Ultimately I would suggest that it is the law of the country that the content is being created/viewed that should be applied.

            At the end of the day we don't care that <<act X>> was uploaded just as long as that was not visible by someone for whom <<act X>> was illegal.

            So for us in NZ a murder is illegal therefore I should not be able to participate in it. I should neither be able to upload it nor view it. If I upload a video of a homosexual kiss that (presumably) should be legal to upload but not for someone in, say, Algeria to view it.

            If a platform isn't happy with local laws they can choose not to offer the service in that country. I doubt that will stop FB etc.

            Of course actually implementing any such ban is going to be impossible (I can always use a VPN to avoid notice as noted elsewhere) but shouldn't we at least try?

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      It's not a difficult balance - in the modern world Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter don't kill people - it's their users who are doing the shooting. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other "social" platforms are just making money from our stupidity, if you are using these platforms to watch these videos then you are one of the guilty parties - none of these platforms would bother showing this kind of thing if they were not making money from it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        > Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter don't kill people - it's their users who are doing the shooting.

        Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

        Do you know who came up with that idiotic tripe? I do.

        And yet, in US states - and countries - that have strict gun controls, the homicide rate is much lower than in those that don't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          And yet, in US states - and countries...

          citation please

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And yet, in US states - and countries...

            Especially since I can give a concrete counterexample in Chicago, Illinois. They have some of the strictest gun laws yet have such a high crime rate they inflate statistics for the rest of the state.

          2. Kiwi

            Re: And yet, in US states - and countries...

            citation please

            Here ya go. Take a look at the charts further down in the article. Only posting it now because I came across it a little while ago.

            https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/7/23/17602312/stand-your-ground-florida-michael-drejka-markeis-mcglockton

            (WARNING There is a video embedded in this article that I have not seen (I have youtube's JS blocked by default so it won't play), but the site does give a warning about the video and it may be illegal to view in some places, and certainly could be upsetting for some people - including myself I suspect)

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        They're are not only making money from people's stupidity but they are amplifying it. Thanks to the "you liked this? Then have some more of this!" algorithm to get people to stay on their site longer, people end up disappearing down flat earth, anti-vax, and terrorism rabbit holes and end up polarised from the rest of society.

        That is a bug and not a feature and has to be fixed.

    4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      NZ is exercising one legal remedy

      Acts of a criminal nature should always and without question be banned and blocked before anyone sees them or has a chance to download or share themselves because acts of a criminal nature have been through the due process to define them.

      This has been reported on RT-

      In a statement on Sunday, police said they apprehended a local man who is not believed to be directly linked to the attacker. The 22-year-old is facing charges under Films Video and Publications Classifications Act, which prohibits distribution or possession of material determined to be "objectionable."

      So NZ official censor has rightly deemed the video as 'objectionable', and so can act against distributors.. Which presumably could include Facebook, Google and the usual suspects.. But in NZ, so presumably could act against entities and officers based in NZ. And I guess there's potential to spread the net wider via international treaties against crimes/criminals.

      If this is replicated in other national legislation, it could be a way to drop a heavy (or lighter) legal hint that sharing this kind of content isn't legal, moral or acceptable.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Facebook and Twitter weren't the only places...

      that video was being recycled on 4chan's /pol/ for hours along with a link to the (previously taken down) manifesto. Just because it wasn't on Facebook nor Twitter doesn't mean it's not "out there". And of course on 4chan's /pol/ there were actual echos of approval in multiple threads... (well it's anarchy and politically incorrect, so there).

      might be worth pointing out, the (alleged) perpetrator was apparently a REGULAR contributor to political posts about Australia and New Zealand on that forum, described by some as an 'Accelerationist', whatever that means...

      so, point is, forums that are NOT Facebook nor Twitter nor Youtube already exist. And the (alleged) perpetrator of the mosque shooting was a regular user of one of those forums. So there you go.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Facebook and Twitter weren't the only places...

        "forums that are NOT Facebook nor Twitter nor Youtube already exist. And the (alleged) perpetrator of the mosque shooting was a regular user of one of those forums. "

        However I presume that those forums do not have hundreds of millions of eyeballs on them. Also forums by their very nature are 'pull' rather than 'push' as is the case on facebook etc

        1. Charles 9

          Re: Facebook and Twitter weren't the only places...

          But the "pull" places still allow things to stew, then the friends in low places, so to speak, can then spread the filth to all and sundry through whatever methods are available (including stuff that existed before Facebook such as e-mail bombs, Usenet postings, and bulletproof hosting). Even if the initial clip only existed in the Darknet, those friends could easily spread it like a plague into the Clearnet.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Facebook and Twitter weren't the only places...

          "However I presume that those forums do not have hundreds of millions of eyeballs on them. Also forums by their very nature are 'pull' rather than 'push' as is the case on facebook etc"

          The 4chan's/8chan's/Voat commonly host this type of material but as you say, they don't get large numbers of eyeballs looking there way because much of the content is repulsive or worse.

          LiveLeak on the other hand does gets around 2.5m viewers a day, covering the content without the commentary.

          I accept that is considerably less than FB/YT, but it's a not inconsiderable number of regular viewers. If we're going to clean up the Internet, there's going to be a lot of scrubbing required.

          If, on the other hand, we just want to clean up the big players, video's bring eyeballs which advertisers pay for. Most of those video view's spike within the first 24 hours which is why FB/YT like to be seen to remove content but don't try too hard. And if they can remove content deemed morally unacceptable, they will also need to remove content deemed commercially unacceptable (i.e. live sports/music). Which is why we see FB's approach of "we are employing 30,000 people to moderate the content and remove anything unacceptable" rather than a technical solution.

          Is there a technical solution? How about forcing new content providers to be moderated/delayed by a few hours to allow a % of their content be checked. It's inconvenient for some, but nothing that serious contributors with nothing to upset moderators or commercial interests would be worried about and over time those that use it for occassional uploads will reach a trusted status too. i.e. FB/YT have to stop pretending to just be a platform and play by the rules other content distributors have to abide by.

          1. Kiwi
            Boffin

            Re: Facebook and Twitter weren't the only places...

            Is there a technical solution? How about forcing new content providers to be moderated/delayed by a few hours to allow a % of their content be checked.

            A "trust" system could perhaps be employed. If you have enough "trust points" you can live-stream until such a time as you lose some points. Don't have quite enough, some people can get your stuff early (eg family and friends - I can see issues here though) but most others will have to wait. Lower still and everything has to pass through a human moderator for approval.

            Yes, I realise this smacks of China's social credit system, but sometimes just because a reputedly scumbag country (ab)uses a system doesn't mean it is automatically bad to use it elsewhere.

    6. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

      Agreed.

      However, if you should start to moderate new content on one platform, the ne'er-do-wells (I do love this word btw) will simply move over to another platform where they can post content unmoderated, or before it get censored.

      Think of whack-a-mole. You got it.

  1. whitepines

    El Reg follows common sense!

    whose name isn't worth publishing

    Thank you for not giving this jackass its 15 minutes of fame. It's a disturbing trend we see all too often in today's media to make these idiots out to be rock stars.

    "People" (note I use that term very loosely in this case) that stoop to this level should be covered exactly twice:

    Once to show the event and how it didn't engender any lasting terror (bonus points for people standing up saying they are not afraid)

    Once again with all the intimate details of the next 60 years of this degenerate's controlled, subjugated, monitored, and in every way horrific life until it dies unwanted in prison.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: El Reg follows common sense!

      It's a disturbing trend we see all too often in today's media to make these idiots out to be rock stars

      That's a big part of the problem and like various "challenges" of late on FB and other platforms, mass murder has become one. Hit a new high number of bodies and someone will be thinking of a way to "do better" and win instant fame.

      Perhaps the answer is cover the story but never, ever mention the miscreants name? Perhaps, closed trials with the perp is "Mr X." or "Miss Y"? Not sure that would go over well in any society other than some of the more "controlled" (for lack of a better term) countries.

      No matter what anyone comes with a potential answer it still is going to be a tough problem to solve. Media coverage is one thing but videos or even live coverage from the media while it's going on is bound to spark copycats.

      I will note, that banning guns isn't the answer. Remember Oklahoma City and the truck load of fertilizer/diesel blowing up the federal building? Those who want to do harm will find a way.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: El Reg follows common sense!

      [QUOTE]

      "People" (note I use that term very loosely in this case) that stoop to this level should be covered exactly twice:

      [QUOTE]

      Make that thrice:

      Finally (after dying in prison) the body should be covered with earth in an unmarked grave at an undisclosed location.

      1. Kiwi

        Re: El Reg follows common sense!

        Finally (after dying in prison) the body should be covered with earth in an unmarked grave at an undisclosed location.

        Cremation, then the ashes dropped into a sewer or an old mine shaft etc. Make it known that their death will be unannounced until well after the time.

        His time inside however should be spent serving the community harmed.

        1. Kiwi

          Re: El Reg follows common sense!

          Cremation, then the ashes dropped into a sewer or an old mine shaft etc

          I should clarify. In many cases there have been efforts to get the remains of a deceased nasty person. By dumping them in such a manner, the chance of such an act is limited only to a short window of time. By not announcing that this 'hero' has died until some time later, the chances of the dumping being intercepted by nutters is removed to almost 0.

          I use the term 'hero' because, to some, he will be. I myself consider the man an utter coward. He went against an unarmed group and murdered women and children. Little children to young to even have started school.

          If you consider this person a hero, this man whose greatest act is the murder of babies, then that is your choice, but know that the majority of the world's population will consider him a worthless coward, and we will treat you with the respect you deserve.

          1. Raphael

            Re: El Reg follows common sense!

            Personally I'm in favour of giving this scum a cell made out of container to live in on White Island..... as close to the biggest active vent as possible.

            1. Kiwi

              Re: El Reg follows common sense!

              Personally I'm in favour of giving this scum a cell made out of container to live in on White Island..... as close to the biggest active vent as possible.

              Tempting, but the chance of a quick exit are way too high. How about somewhere near Rotorua? But one can get used to the smell, or so I am told.

              Perhaps he should have Muslim music piped into his cell 24/7 though, at least a few days a week.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: El Reg follows common sense!

        I was thinking "tossed into an active volcano" but ok

    3. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: El Reg follows common sense!

      Too bad all news outlets don't take the same approach, but I'll add "human garbage" 'whose name isn't worth publishing'

      1. VikiAi

        Re: El Reg follows common sense!

        I like the approach of one of the alien groups in Sherri S. Tepper's book "The Fresco":

        "One of the programs we left to start without us, back on Earth, is the rewording of your newspapers and TV shows. They will no longer be able to use empty language, like "paid his debt to society," or "claimed responsibility" for an act of terrorism. Instead, they must use true words. "He has been sentenced to prison for ten years which will do nothing to ameliorate his urges to molest and mutilate little girls." Or, "The XX faction has asserted that it committed the cowardly atrocity of killing a busload of schoolchildren." Earthians must learn to say truly what has happened and not cover it with easy-speak."

        They were using some pretty heavy-duty Clarke-tech to do it even to already printed material, but we could probably with current "earthling technology" achieve it with electronic media at least. If we wanted to, of course.

        1. Kiwi
          Pint

          Re: El Reg follows common sense!

          They will no longer be able to use empty language, like "paid his debt to society," or "claimed responsibility" for an act of terrorism.

          This I would love to see implemented!

          But you have to understand.. I don't think even the greatest technology could get truth into newspapers, even if it is just changing the way a few pages are written.

          I would be totally against the idea of changing what is already written. Write a counter piece maybe, to point out someone's error, but do not change was was said.

          1. Teiwaz

            Re: El Reg follows common sense!

            But you have to understand.. I don't think even the greatest technology could get truth into newspapers, even if it is just changing the way a few pages are written.

            The newspapers aren't exactly the origin of this language.

            Corporation PR, politicians, psychologists, social sciences, you name a sector, they've adopted it.

            'identified as' 'reached out to' - and there are more, but I can already taste the vomit rising.

            1. Charles 9

              Re: El Reg follows common sense!

              Put it this way. There's a term for it: Political Correctness.

              The reason is simple. Some people don't take kindly to the blunt truth: to the point of summoning lawyers for slander, libel, and other unprotected speech charges.

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