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19 Mar, 2019 10:50

Should social media be scrubbing disturbing NZ shooting videos? Pundits clash in RT DEBATE

Should social media be scrubbing disturbing NZ shooting videos? Pundits clash in RT DEBATE

As New Zealand censors take aim at social media platforms that allowed the livestream video of the Christchurch mosque shootings to be shared or copied, pundits clashed on RT about the pros and cons of scrubbing violent content.

Facebook and other platforms were criticized for being slow to delete videos of the Christchurch mosque shooting, compared to the pace with which they typically take down political content they don’t like. The world’s biggest social network did try to block the video of the massacre, in which 50 worshipers were killed, but not before there was widespread public outrage.

“When you show violence against human beings, it’s a form of pornography,” media analyst Lionel argued. “We have to, as a society, say ‘No, Facebook, you can do much better for kids, for people who would see this.’”

Removing such content is important “not because it would inspire the next shooting – which it very well could because these losers need some form of acclamation – [but] out of human decency,” he said.

Also on rt.com Facebook erased 1.5mn instances of NZ mosque attack video in 24 hours after massacre

However, anti-terrorism expert Jennifer Breedon disagreed. “How in the world does that prevent these attacks?” she asked. Ordinary people are paying too much attention to how horrible these videos are “rather than asking questions that need to be asked,” she insisted.

“Should it come down immediately? Yes! Should this be kept from the public? Yes!” Lionel stated.

“We’re talking about prevention, you’re talking about keeping people willfully blinded from these things,” Breedon countered. “How would [deleting content] prevent [more attacks]?”

Lionel explained that social media giants have everything they need to scrutinize what users post or share. “If I put certain stories about certain political issues, I am shadow banned so fast,” he said, referring to the practice of making a particular user’s posts visible only to that user.

READ MORE: WATCH NZ gang members perform rousing haka tribute to mosque shooting victims

“I want them to use that technology, in their genius, to figure out: ‘We have somebody right now, people are being killed, this is going to come down from our platform,’” he asserted.

Breedon’s concern was that “when we continue to ban this kind of stuff, that’s only going to perpetuate shadow banning.” Making appeals like this means “giving subjective power and authority to social media platforms to ban content.”

New Zealand police have warned citizens that sharing the Christchurch mosque attack video is now a criminal offence. A host of websites, including Zero Hedge and LiveLeak, have been blocked as censors scrub the shooter’s manifesto from the internet.

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