Facebook Considers Live-Streaming Limits After Mosque Attack

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg revealed the social media platform is exploring “restrictions on who can go Live." Streaming capabilities could hinge "on factors such as prior Community Standard violations.”

by Jessica Schladebeck, New York Daily News / April 1, 2019
Facebook Live Shutterstock/sitthiphong

(TNS) —Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg announced that the social media giant is “exploring restrictions” for live videos after a gunman streamed a mass shooting inside a New Zealand mosque earlier this month.

In an open letter published by the New Zealand Herald on Saturday, Sandberg described the mosque shootings as “an act of pure evil” and vowed that the company “is committed to reviewing what happened.”

Authorities in New Zealand said 50 people were killed when accused gunman Brenton Tarrant – with a camera strapped to his head to record the attack – opened fire inside the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood mosques during weekly prayer services earlier this month.

It took nearly a half hour for someone to report the live-streamed video of the carnage inside the Al Noor Mosque, which was viewed thousands of times on Facebook before it was removed from the platform.

The 17-minute broadcast was immediately flagged as a terror attack – but by then, it had already been saved and uploaded to other sites. Sandberg said Facebook identified more than 900 videos that feature at least portions of the original live stream after it was taken down.

The social media COO said the incident prompted the company to invest in “research to build better technology to quickly identify edited versions of violent videos and images.”

She added that in the last week, Facebook has also made changes to its “review process” that will help them more quickly identify similar video in the future.

More importantly, Sandberg revealed the social media platform is exploring “restrictions on who can go Live." While she did not provide specifics, she said streaming capabilities could hinge "on factors such as prior Community Standard violations.”

The tragedy in New Zealand has also inspired “even stronger steps to remove hate on our platforms.”

Facebook earlier this week revealed it would be banning separatism and white nationalism from the site. Sandberg said it will also be using existing artificial intelligence tools to identify and remove known hate groups in Australia and New Zealand, including the Lads Society, the United Patriots Front, the Antipodean Resistance and National Front New Zealand.

“Finally, we are standing by the people of New Zealand and providing support to four local well-being and mental health organizations to raise awareness around their services within the country,” Sandberg concluded.

“We know there is more work to do. We are deeply committed to strengthening our policies, improving our technology and working with experts to keep Facebook safe. We must all stand united against hate and work together to fight it wherever and whenever it occurs.

©2019 New York Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.