We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Liewig Christian/ABACA
Christchurch Call to Action

Users who have 'broken rules' will not be allowed to use Facebook Live services

“This isn’t about freedom of expression, this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online,” the New Zealand PM argued.

LAST UPDATE | 15 May 2019

FACEBOOK HAS ANNOUNCED restrictions which will see rulebreakers banned from using its live-streaming services. 

The move comes as a response to the Christchurch mosque attacks which were broadcast widely on the network. 

In a blog post yesterday, vice president of integrity at Facebook Guy Rosen, wrote: “Tackling these threats also requires technical innovation to stay ahead of the type of adversarial media manipulation we saw after Christchurch when some people modified the video to avoid detection in order to repost it after it had been taken down.”

He noted that the live feature can be abused and that the company wants to limit such use. 

From today, there will be a ‘one strike’ policy which will see anyone who has violated a serious Facebook policy restricted from using livestreaming for a set period of time.

“For instance, someone who shares a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context will now be immediately blocked from using Live for a set period of time,” explained Rosen.  

The announcement was made to coincide with a meeting of global leaders in Paris today. 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron are co-hosting the event with world leaders and tech firms to promote ‘Christchurch Call To Action’, a campaign that aims to curb online extremism, particularly in the wake of an attack.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is taking part in the initiative to tackle terrorist and violent extremist content online in the wake of the attacks on two mosques in New Zealand on 15 March.   

After the Christchurch killings in which 51 people died and dozens more were injured, Ardern has been highly critical of social media giants, saying that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube should be “taking ownership and responsibility over their platforms”.

The world leaders will meet with representatives of major technology companies to formally adopt the Christchurch Call to Action, which commits governments and tech giants to counter and remove terrorist and violent extremist content online. 

These measures are expecting to include halting the spread of extremist content online and to prevent extremist content spreading following a terrorist event. During the New Zealand attacks, one of the shooters had livestreamed the incident on social media.

According to reports by other media including the New York Times, a ban on certain material and guidelines for traditional media would be included in the Call. The pledge would set a general direction for the nations involved, but it would be up to each individual country to honour the commitments.

New Zealand Mosque Attacks: 49 Killed New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shows solidarity in the wake of the mass shooting at the two Christchurch mosques. Zuma Press / PA Images Zuma Press / PA Images / PA Images

In April, Ardern announced that she would be co-hosting this meeting with Macron, saying that the way the New Zealand attacks were carried out were “unprecedented in the way that they used online platforms to disseminate the terrorist attack”.

This isn’t about freedom of expression, this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online. I don’t think anyone would argue that the terrorists on 15 March had a right to live stream the murder of 51 people, and this is what this call is specifically focused on.

Other leaders present today will include British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of Senegal Macky Sall, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Following the adoption of the Christchurch Call to Action, leaders will attend the closing dinner of the Tech for Good Summit, where more than 150 business leaders will attend.

Other issues

In its statement yesterday, Facebook also said that edited versions of problematic videos create further headaches for the firm. 

“People — not always intentionally — shared edited versions of the video, which made it hard for our systems to detect,” Rosen explained. 

“Although we deployed a number of techniques to eventually find these variants, including video and audio matching technology, we realised that this is an area where we need to invest in further research,” he continued, announcing $7.5 million in research funds and a partnership with the University of Maryland, Cornell University and The University of California, Berkeley.

With reporting by Sinéad O’Carroll

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel