Facebook Reveals How Alleged New Zealand Shooter’s Livestream Video Went Viral

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The alleged New Zealand shooter’s video flew across Facebook in record time despite receiving fewer than 200 total views during the live broadcast, the platform noted in a blog post Monday night.

“Before we were alerted … a user on 8-chan posted a link to a copy of the video on a file-sharing site,” Facebook stated in the post. Users began reposting copies of the video shortly after the company took the content down. The first report of the shooting, which resulted in 49 deaths, came in 12 minutes after the livestream ended.

The video was viewed a total of 4,000 times before being removed from Facebook, according to the company’s post. The social media site also removed about 1.5 million videos of the attack globally. More than 1 million of those videos were blocked at upload and were subsequently prevented from being seen.

Authorities have arrested four people in connection with the mosque shootings Friday, media reports show. A 28-year-old Australian man calling himself Brenton Tarrant connected himself to the shootings after posting a manifesto on his childhood, his fear of white genocide and his desire to send a message that “nowhere in the world is safe.”

Analysts meanwhile worry the Facebook Live feature is ungovernable. Sarah Roberts, a professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, for instance, told The New Yorker on March 16 that it might be impossible for Facebook or YouTube to moderate their platforms for this kind of content.

“There are not enough moderators in the world to monitor every live stream,” said Roberts, who’s become an expert on content moderation. “By and large, live streaming came online with none of that stuff sorted out,” she said. “There was no real plan for, ‘What are we going to do when people start using it in the worst possible way?’”

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