Tue, Apr 09, 2019 - Page 5 News List

NZ regulator accuses Facebook of failing to cooperate

AFP, WELLINGTON

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets attendees at a remembrance ceremony at North Hagley Park in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 29.

Photo: AFP

New Zealand’s privacy regulator yesterday accused Facebook of failing to cooperate on tackling livestreaming in the wake of the Christchurch mosques massacre, saying Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg was “disingenuous” about its systems.

The gunman on March 15 livestreamed on Facebook his rampage at two mosques, with the footage proliferating widely online, despite the platform saying it “quickly” removed the footage.

New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said Zuckerberg was “disingenuous” in saying that bad actors were going out of their way to circumvent Facebook’s systems.

“They actually didn’t have any systems to detect the events in Christchurch,” Edwards told Radio New Zealand, adding that a delay on livestreaming would be a good interim measure.

“It is a technology that is capable of causing great harm... He [Zuckerberg] can’t actually tell us, or won’t tell us, how many suicides are livestreamed, how many murders, how many sexual assaults,” Edwards said.

“In fact I’ve asked Facebook exactly that last week and they simply don’t have those figures or won’t give them to us,” he said.

Zuckerberg last week said that a delay on live feeds was not on the cards, despite pressure on the US firm to crack down on the sharing of violent video or images.

Edwards said that the social network needed to step up and be responsible for the content that the site hosts.

“This is a global problem. The events that were livestreamed in Christchurch could happen anywhere in the world,” he added.

“They have been responsible for appalling content that set the preconditions for genocide in Myanmar. They have enabled their service to be manipulated by Russian trolls to influence the outcome of elections,” Edwards said.

Australia last week passed controversial laws that could see social media executives from firms such as Facebook or YouTube face jail for failing to take down violent extremist content quickly.

Measures that Facebook is considering after the Christchurch attacks, which claimed the lives of 50 people, include barring people who have previously violated its community standards from livestreaming.

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