Social Media Trouble: Live Streaming of Terrorist Attacks

Washington (AFP) – As more gruesome crimes and attacks show up on live online video, social media platforms are facing new challenges on preventing the spread of gruesome and horrific content.

The challenge was underscored in Monday’s deadly attack on a policeman and his wife in France in which the killer posted on Facebook a live 13-minute video of himself with the victim’s child in which he admitted the murders and urged fellow jihadists to carry out more bloodshed.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been promoting their new live video features, but are struggling to find ways to keep out content that promotes violence.

“Terrorists and acts of terrorism have no place on Facebook,” a spokeswoman for the leading social network said when asked about the incident in France.

“Whenever terrorist content is reported to us, we remove it as quickly as possible. We treat takedown requests by law enforcement with the highest urgency.”

The Facebook statement acknowledged “unique challenges” for live-streamed videos, adding, “it’s a serious responsibility, and we work hard to strike the right balance between enabling expression while providing a safe and respectful experience.”

Twitter, whose Periscope live video feature has been used to show a suicide in France and a rape in the United States, offered a similar policy.

A Twitter spokesman queried by AFP reiterated its policy stating that “you may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.”

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