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Facebook Has Tightened Its Facebook Live Rules After The New Zealand Terror Attacks

Months after the man who shot 51 Muslims to death inside two Christchurch mosques streamed the attacks on Facebook Live, Facebook wants to clamp down.

Posted on May 15, 2019, at 5:15 a.m. ET

Sanka Vidanagama / AFP / Getty Images

Muslims offer prayers inside the al Noor mosque, one of the mosques where 51 people were killed by a white supremacist gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Facebook is introducing a “one strike” policy that will ban users who break its rules anywhere on the platform from using Facebook Live, the company’s streaming service, which was used to broadcast mass shootings in two Christchurch mosques.

“From now on, anyone who violates our most serious policies will be restricted from using Live for set periods of time — for example 30 days — starting on their first offense" wrote Facebook VP of Integrity Guy Rosen in a blog post published on Tuesday. "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,”

Facebook said that it will also prevent these people from buying ads on the social network in the future.

These new restrictions will also apply to Facebook’s "dangerous individuals and organizations" policy, which was introduced earlier this month. Under this policy, the company removed on May 2 far-right influencers including Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Laura Loomer from Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook was criticized after the Christchurch shootings on March 15 for allowing the gunman to livestream the violence, and for not removing copies of the video posted to the social network fast enough. Facebook took 24 hours to remove 1.5 million videos of the shootings after they were published to the platform.

In the wake of the attacks, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that social media platforms needed to take more responsibility for what was published on them. “We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of a place where they are published,” she said. “They are the publisher, not just the postman. There cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”

In response, Facebook said that the original livestream of the shootings was viewed fewer than 200 times.

Facebook’s brand-new one-strike policy comes a day ahead of a meeting that Ardern is co-chairing with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, which seeks to have world leaders and heads of technology companies sign the “Christchurch Call,” a pledge to get rid of terrorist and violent extremist content on the internet.


Milo Yiannopoulos's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post.

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