Friday’s slaughter in two New Zealand mosques, like mass shootings before it, had its seeds in one of the darkest corners of the Internet, a chat room where anonymous people appeared to talk openly about the attack before, during and after it happened. But technology played a more visible — and arguably more troubling — role in publicizing the violence itself and, by extension, the hate-filled ideology behind it.
And yet again, the biggest players in America’s rich, massive and sophisticated technology industry — YouTube, Twitter and Facebook — failed to rapidly quell this spread as it metastasized across platforms, bringing horrific images to internet users in a worldwide, dystopian video loop. The alleged shooter also released a manifesto denouncing Muslims and immigrants, police said.
More than eight hours after the shooting at one of the mosques was live-streamed on Facebook — apparently by the man who killed 49 people in a mosque in Christchurch — the video still was getting uploaded and re-uploaded continuously by other people onto YouTube. A simple search of obvious keywords for the event, such as “New Zealand,” surfaced a long list of videos, many of which were uncensored and extended cuts of the massacre. more