New Zealand: Business leaders & govt. call on Facebook to do more to rid platform of extremist content after live streaming terrorist attack in mosques

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Article
19 March 2019

Researchers say social media platforms are not doing enough to address anti-Muslim hate speech; inc. comment by Facebook

Author: Jane Lytvynenko, BuzzFeed News

"Anti Muslim hate speech is absolutely relentless on social media even as platforms crack down on other extremist groups," 18 March 2019

FacebookYouTube, and Amazon moved to remove or reduce the spread of anti-vaccination content... [and] largely eradicated ISIS terrorists and made inroads to remove white supremacists from their services, and worked to keep them off. But through all this, anti-Muslim content has been allowed to fester across social media. For years, Muslims endured racial slurs, dehumanizing photos, threats of violence, and targeted harassment campaigns, which continue to spread and generate significant engagement on social media platforms even though it's prohibited by most terms of service... Researchers say Facebook is the primary mainstream platform where extremists organize and anti-Muslim content is deliberately spread... “Islamophobia happens to be something that made these companies lots and lots of money,” said Whitey Phillips, an assistant professor at Syracuse University... She said this type of content generates engagement, which in turn keeps people on the platform and available to see ads.

In an emailed statement, a Facebook spokesperson said the company has been taking down content specific to the attack [at two mosques in New Zealand] — it said it had removed 1.5 million videos of the attack in the first 24 hours — but addressed questions about anti-Muslim hate speech by linking to a blog post from 2017... Facebook has said it has been actively removing comments from the platform that "praise and support" the New Zealand attack, but the company said nothing of stepping up efforts to eradicate other anti-Muslim speech spread on its platform.

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Article
18 March 2019

AirAsia CEO quits Facebook

Author: Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business

"AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes quits Facebook: 'New Zealand was too much for me'," 18 March 2019

Fernandes, who had 670,000 followers, said in a series of tweets on Sunday morning that Facebook needs to "clean up" after videos of the New Zealand mosque attacks were uploaded to the platform. "The amount of hate that goes on in social media sometimes outweighs the good," he said in a tweet Sunday. "Facebook could have done more to stop some of this."

For at least 17 minutes on Friday, a suspected terrorist streamed live video of a mass murder at a mosque in New Zealand. New Zealand police alerted Facebook to the livestream, and Facebook said it quickly removed the shooter's account and the video. Facebook also said it was removing praise or support for the shooting "as soon as we're aware." On Saturday, Facebook said that it removed 1.5 million videos of the attack. "We continue to work around the clock to remove violating content using a combination of technology and people...," Mia Garlnick, spokesperson for Facebook New Zealand, said on Twitter.

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Article
18 March 2019

Facebook faces an ad boycott after live stream of the New Zealand mosque shooting

Author: Grace Dobush, Fortune

A consortium of New Zealand’s major companies has pledged to pull their advertising from Facebook following the live-streaming of Friday’s mosque shootings in Christchurch... In a joint statement, the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) and the Commercial Communications Council asked domestic companies to think about where “their advertising dollars are spent, and carefully consider, with their agency partners, where their ads appear... We challenge Facebook and other platform owners to immediately take steps to effectively moderate hate content before another tragedy can be streamed online.”

... ASB Bank, Lotto NZ, Burger King and telecoms company Spark have signed on to pull their ad dollars from Facebook... Kiwibank, the Bank of New Zealand, and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group have also independently pulled most or all of their ads from Facebook. Businesses need to seriously consider “if they wish to be associated with social media platforms unable or unwilling to take responsibility for content on those sites,” ANZA CEO Lindsay Mouat told the Herald. Facebook did not immediately return Fortune‘s request for comment... Facebook said Sunday it removed 1.5 million videos of the mosque shooting from its servers in the 24 hours following the attack, many of those at the upload stage... Many social media and video platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and Twitch, have been scrambling to prevent the video from spreading further... Tony Fernandes, CEO of Malaysia’s low-cost airline AirAsia, said goodbye to his 670,000 Facebook followers over the weekend over the Christchurch atrocity.

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Article
18 March 2019

Facebook update on New Zealand

Author: Chris Sonderby, Facebook

We remain shocked and saddened by this tragedy and are committed to working with leaders in New Zealand, other governments, and across the technology industry to help counter hate speech and the threat of terrorism. We continue to work around the clock to prevent this content from appearing on our site, using a combination of technology and people... We removed the attacker’s video within minutes of their outreach to us, and in the aftermath, we have been providing an on-the-ground resource for law enforcement authorities... While we’re still reviewing this situation, we are able to provide the information below:

  • We designated both shootings as terror attacks, meaning that any praise, support and representation of the events violates our Community Standards and is not permitted on Facebook...
  • We removed the personal accounts of the named suspect from Facebook and Instagram, and are actively identifying and removing any imposter accounts that surface...
  • We removed the original Facebook Live video and hashed it so that other shares that are visually similar to that video are then detected and automatically removed from Facebook and Instagram...
  • We identified abusive content on other social media sites in order to assess whether or how that content might migrate to one of our platforms.

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Article
18 March 2019

Social platforms need to do more: Joint media statement from the Association of New Zealand Advertisers and the Commercial Communications Council

Author: Association of New Zealand Advertisers & the Commercial Communications Council

Events in Christchurch have shocked all of New Zealand and as a nation we are struggling to come to terms with what happened on Friday. The role that social media played, particularly that of live streaming, has been brought into serious question... We, the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) and the Commercial Communications Council (Comms Council), recognise social media provides many community and social benefits. But with that comes responsibilities for social media owners to effectively moderate content on their sites... ANZA and the Comms Council encourage all advertisers to recognise they have choice where their advertising dollars are spent, and carefully consider, with their agency partners, where their ads appear. We challenge Facebook and other platform owners to immediately take steps to effectively moderate hate content before another tragedy can be streamed online. ANZA, the Comms Council and their members will work together over the next few days on what more can be done by advertisers, agencies, platform owners and global partners to reduce the chance of this happening again.

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