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New Zealand mosque shooting: Facebook failed to block 300,000 videos at upload

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Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos globally of the New Zealand mosque attack in the first 24 hours after the attack. But the platform reportedly still failed to remove 20 percent of videos related to the shooting.

Representational image. Image: Tech2

“In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload…,” Facebook said in a tweet late Saturday.

In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload…

— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 17, 2019

The company said it is also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content out of respect for the people affected by the mosque shooting and the concerns of local authorities.

Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we’re also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content.” — Mia Garlick, Facebook New Zealand

— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 17, 2019

However, despite these efforts, Facebook failed to answer why 300,000 videos were not caught at upload in the first place. According to a report by TechCrunch, this represents a 20 percent failure rate. In addition to that, reportedly the number shared by Facebook is only of videos that it is aware of. TechCrunch apparently found many videos posted to Facebook over 12 hours after the attack.

With 1 in 5 videos getting past Facebook’s algorithms, and with no idea how many are circulating on platforms like YouTube, WhatsApp and Instagram, it’s clear that big tech is still not equipped for dealing with content of this nature.

The death toll in the New Zealand mosque shootings rose to 50 on Sunday. The gunman who attacked two mosques on Friday live-streamed the attacks on Facebook for 17 minutes using an app designed for extreme sports enthusiasts, with copies still being shared on social media hours later.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she wants to discuss live streaming with Facebook.

With inputs from Reuters.

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