iStock/Poligrafistka(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) — Facebook, Twitter, Google's YouTube and other social media platforms are scrambling to contain the spread of videos and other material related to shootings at two mosques that marked the deadliest attack in New Zealand history.
On Friday, at least 49 people were killed and dozens more injured by at least one gunman at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
According to authorities, a shooter appeared to livestream video of the attack on Facebook, documenting the attack on Facebook from the drive to the Al Noor Mosque from a first-person perspective, and it showed the shooter walking into the mosque from the car and opening fire.
The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs said in a statement that the video footage is "likely to be objectionable content under New Zealand law" and that "people who share the video of the shooting today in Christchurch are likely to be committing an offence."
"Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online," New Zealand Police said on Twitter shortly after the shooting. "We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed."
Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online. We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.
— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) March 15, 2019
On YouTube, the video lingered for hours after the attack as different individuals republished it.
YouTube tweeted about the shooting video, "Our hearts are broken over today's terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage."
Our hearts are broken over today’s terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.
— YouTube (@YouTube) March 15, 2019
Facebook also issued a statement saying it had taken down the suspected shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and removed the video he posted of the attack.
"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by the horrendous shootings in New Zealand. Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video. We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues," Facebook New Zealand spokeswoman Mia Garlick wrote in a statement.
Portions of the video were also spreading by individuals on Twitter, which said it, too, was working to remove the content and had suspended the shooter's account.
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