A sole gunman opened fire in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 49 people and injuring 20 more.
As he did so, he filmed the entire crime and live-streamed it directly to Facebook.
That is the main point of social media buzz now, to take down the creepy video to be shared by everyone.
What ensued was an exhausting race for social media pages to take the footage down, as it was duplicated seemingly endlessly and shared widely in the wake of the attack.
And through social media, it found its way onto the front pages of some of the world’s biggest news websites in the form of still images, gifs, and even the full video.
This series of events has, once again, shone a spotlight on how sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Reddit try – and fail – to address far-right extremism on their platforms.
As the video continued to spread, other members of the public put up their own posts pleading with people to stop sharing it.
What was shared?
The video, which shows a first-person view of the killings, has been widely circulated.
- About 10 to 20 minutes before the attack in New Zealand, someone posted on the /pol/section of 8chan, a message board popular with the alt-right. The post included links to the suspect’s Facebook page, where he stated he would be live-streaming and published a rambling and hate-filled document
- Before opening fire, the suspect urged viewers to subscribe to PewDiePie’s YouTube channel. PewDiePie later said on Twitter he was “absolutely sickened having my name uttered by this person”
- The attacks were live-streamed on Facebook and shared widely on other social media platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter
- People continue to report seeing the video, despite the firms acting pretty swiftly to remove the original and copies, and copies are still being uploaded to YouTube, faster than it can remove them.
- Several Australian media outlets broadcast some of the footage, as did other newspapers around the world.