Facebook under pressure to improve livestream moderation after New Zealand mosque attacks

Facebook has removed 1.5 million videos globally of the New Zealand mosque attack, livestreamed by gunman Brenton Tarrant, above, in the first 24 hours after the attack. (Handout/AFP)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Facebook under pressure to improve livestream moderation after New Zealand mosque attacks

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand: Facebook is facing pressure from New Zealand’s advertising industry and the country’s Privacy Commissioner for its role in distributing footage of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The attacks, which killed 50 people, were live-streamed for almost 17 minutes on Facebook. the attack on two Christchurch mosques.

“Our concern as an industry is that live-streaming of these events becomes the new normal,” said Paul Head, chief executive of New Zealand’s Commercial Communications Council, which represents the country’s advertising agencies.

“We’re asking all of the platforms… to take immediate steps to either put in place systems, processes, algorithms or artificial intelligence that stops this kind of event,” he said.

Lindsay Mouat, chief executive of the Association of New Zealand Advertisers, confirmed some of New Zealand’s “very largest companies” were making changes to their advertising plans in light of the mosque shootings.

Both Head and Mouat agreed social media companies must consider temporarily removing live-streaming capabilities if they were unable to moderate the content.

“This simply cannot be allowed to happen again,” Head said.

New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said it was appalling that Facebook allowed the gunman to live-stream the attack for 17 minutes.

“There’s no guarantee the same thing won’t happen tomorrow,” Edwards said.

“It is simply incomprehensible and unacceptable that Facebook cannot prevent that kind of content being streamed to the world,” he said.

University of Auckland Computer Science lecturer Dr Paul Ralph said it was extremely difficult for Facebook to implement an automated system to identify a live video showing a violent crime.

“Facebook should never have launched a live-streaming service if they didn’t have a method of stopping a video ... of a terrorist act,” Dr Ralph said.

He penned an open letter, published on noted.co.nz, calling on Facebook and YouTube to confront their role in terrorism.

Live-streaming was “a feature that should have never been launched”, Dr Ralph said.

In a statement, Facebook said it was working around the clock to prevent the shooting video showing up on the platform.

They confirmed the video was uploaded to Facebook 1.5 million times, but 1.2 million of those were stopped at upload, meaning they were never published.


CEO of Qatar’s BeIn TV channel, former Athletics chief under probe for alleged corruption

Updated 22 May 2019
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CEO of Qatar’s BeIn TV channel, former Athletics chief under probe for alleged corruption

  • Investigating magistrates are considering charging Yousef Al-Obaidly with active corruption
  • There were allegation of corruption in the bidding process for this year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha

PARIS: The boss of Qatari television channel BeIn, Yousef Al-Obaidly, and ex-athletics chief Lamine Diack, have been under investigation since March over alleged corruption in the bidding process for this year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha, sources told AFP on Tuesday.
Investigating magistrates are considering charging Al-Obaidly with active corruption, while Diack will act as a key witness in the matter and will be charged with passive corruption.
The championships take place at the Khalifa International Stadium between September 27 and October 6.
Earlier this week AFP learned that Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack may go on trial in a separate matter, for allegedly obstructing sanctions against Russia for doping in return for payments.
Prosecutors have recommended Diack, who was president of the International Association of Athletics Federations from 1999 to 2015, be tried for corruption and money laundering.