Facebook, facing huge criticism over live streaming, says it removed 1.5 million videos of the New Zealand shooting in 24 hours


Family Naeem Rashid

  • Facebook is under pressure after the murder of 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand was livestreamed on its platform.
  • It has been widely reported that 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant, who has been charged with murder over the massacre, livestreamed the footage.
  • The video and Tarrant’s account was deleted, but the footage proliferated quickly across other tech platforms.
  • New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she would be discussing the issue with Facebook.
  • Facebook says it deleted 1.5 million videos of the attack in a single day, with 1.2 million being blocked at upload.

Facebook is under pressure over its livestreaming video feature, after the man accused of shooting 50 people in New Zealand is thought to have broadcast the attack live via the social network.

The company stated on on Twitter on Sunday morning that it had deleted 1.5 million videos of the attack in 24 hours, and that it will remove all edited versions of the video from its platform.

It said it had blocked 1.2 million videos at upload — meaning 300,000 videos of the shootings did appear on Facebook at some point. The company didn’t comment on how many people may have viewed those videos, nor did it give detailed specifics on how it blocks content.


New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said she planned to take up the issue of the livestream with Facebook. 

She told reporters during a press conference in Wellington on Sunday that Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg had reached out to acknowledge the attacks.

“Certainly, I have had contact from Sheryl Sandberg. I haven’t spoken to her directly but she has reached out, an acknowledgment of what has occurred here in New Zealand,” Ardern said.

“This is an issue that I will look to be discussing directly with Facebook,” she added. “We did as much as we could to remove, or seek to have removed, some of the footage that was being circulated in the aftermath of this terrorist attack.

“But ultimately it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal.”

Ardern also said the US tech giants had “further questions” to answer.

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian man, was charged on Friday with murder over the massacre in Christchurch. Tarrant is so far accused of murdering one man, but the judge said that number would probably go up.

Tarrant is accused of livestreaming the attack, which saw the massacre of 50 people in two Christchurch mosques, via Facebook. A further 50 people were injured, according to authorities.

Although the social network deleted the 16-minute video, it and other services such as YouTube and Twitter have struggled to keep up with the proliferation of copies being uploaded to their platforms.

Business Insider on Friday was easily able to find copies of the disturbing footage both on Facebook and YouTube through simple search terms.

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