Alleged gunman in New Zealand shootings posted shootings on social media

World Today

The alleged suspect in the fatal shootings in New Zealand posted the carnage on social media in real time.

It was livestreamed with his manifesto also posted on a social media account.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman has more.

The Christchurch gunman appears to have used several weapons during the massacre: guns, bombs and the internet.

Shortly before the shootings at two mosques, he published an online manifesto laying out his racist beliefs, saying in part:

“From where did you receive/research/develop your beliefs.” (he asks himself in the manifesto, answering)

“The internet, of course.”

After months of planning, he launched his attack, live streaming the killing spree on Facebook.

“You have the ability to resonate globally in real time. It’s very difficult from the counter terrorism perspective to manage events,” said Fred Burton,  Chief Security officer at Stratfor.

Social media platforms scrambled to remove the posts. In an email statement, Facebook said:

“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.”

Facebook said it will also delete content that praises or supports the shooter. Twitter and YouTube released similar statements.

“What all of us can at least do is ensure that we do not share, spread or actively engage in that message of hate,” said Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister.  “We have been given assurance that online, at least those platforms where some of those images have been shared, are actively being removed.”

Other brutal crimes have been livestreamed in the U.S.

In 2015, a reporter and cameraman were gunned down on live TV as the gunman recorded the shooting.

Criminals take advantage of lax internet oversight and police departments that are overstretched.

“We can look at the individual’s Facebook accounts and so forth and you’ll see things on there and of course everyone is going to say how come we didn’t see this coming,” said Tratfor.  “Trying to make sense of the needles in all the haystacks you’re collecting is the new frontier for law enforcement. It’s a daunting task.”

Some countries tightly control the internet but in many places, freedom of speech often outweighs security concerns, giving room for terrorists to spread their hate.

Max Abrahms discusses the role of social media in terrorism

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes talks with Max Abrahms, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University, about the role of social media in terrorism.