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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Facebook restricts Live Feature In Response to New Zealand Shooting

Politics

7Dnews London

Wed, 15 May 2019 23:38 GMT

Facebook announced steps on Wednesday, May 15th, to temporarily block users who break its rules from broadcasting live video, in the wake of an international outcry after a gunman killed 51 people in New Zealand last month and streamed the attack live on his page, reported Reuters. 

The tweaks to Facebook's rules came as the White House snubbed other world leaders, who met with tech companies in Paris to back a call by New Zealand's prime minister for stronger measures against social media hate speech. 

Silicon Valley tech giants expressed their support for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's so-called "Christchurch Call," named for the city where the gunman attacked two mosques on March 15 and broadcast his killings live. 

But Washington declined to send a delegation to the meeting hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. The White House said it would not endorse Ardern's initiative, although it supported the broader aims. 

Facebook said in a statement it was introducing a "one-strike" policy for use of Facebook Live, a service which lets users broadcast live video. Those who broke the company's most serious rules anywhere on its site would have their access to make live broadcasts temporarily restricted. 

The range of offences that would qualify for one-strike suspensions would be broadened. 

The company did not specify which offences would result in such a ban or how long suspensions would last, but a spokeswoman said it would not have been possible for the Christchurch shooter to use Facebook Live on his account under the new rules. 

Facebook has come under intense scrutiny in recent years over hate speech, privacy lapses and its dominant market position in social media. The company is trying to address those concerns while averting more strenuous action from regulators. 

Ardern called the changes announced on Wednesday "a good first step to restrict the application being used as a tool for terrorists, and shows the Christchurch Call is being acted on." 

The company said it plans to extend the restrictions to other areas over coming weeks, beginning with preventing the same people from creating Facebook ads. It also said it would fund research at three universities on techniques to detect manipulated media, which its systems struggled to spot in the aftermath of the attack. 

Ardern said the research was welcome and that edited and manipulated videos of the March 15 mosque shootings had been slow to be removed, resulting in many people, including herself, seeing video of the killings played in their Facebook feeds. 


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