Terror attack videos were posted on Twitter, but weren't detected until New Zealand's government intervened
- Footage from the 2019 Christchurch massacre circulated on Twitter late last week.
- Twitter did not detect the harmful content, which wasn't removed until the platform was notified.
Footage from the deadly 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings circulated on Twitter late last week as the platform initially failed to detect the uploaded material. Twitter only removed the harmful content after multiple users and the New Zealand government notified the platform on Friday, according to a report from the country's public broadcaster Radio New Zealand.
The far-right extremist attack in 2019 at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand killed 51 people. Live streamed video footage of the killings along with a manifesto from the attacker have been repeatedly uploaded to numerous platforms ever since. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pushed for a global campaign, named the "Christchurch Call," to eliminate violent extremist content online following the killings.
Extremism experts, politicians and human rights groups have been concerned about the potential for a dramatic increase of hate speech and extremist material on an Elon Musk-owned Twitter. Musk has repeatedly promised to prioritize "free speech," which has thrilled previously banned far-right internet users who believed they might be allowed to spread baseless conspiracy theories without consequences on the platform. After Musk finally completed the tumultuous acquisition process and took over Twitter in late October, there was an immediate spike in users posting racist slurs and anti-Semitic messages.
Musk firing half of Twitter's workforce exacerbated fears that the platform would devolve into a hotbed of hate speech as there would potentially be less moderators to look over the content.
Musk shared an internal company presentation last week pushing back against claims that hate speech was rising on the platform, with a slide that stated hate speech impressions were lower than the same time last month. Musk and Twitter did not release any additional data or information regarding that claim.
Musk recently posted a poll allowing users to vote on whether suspended accounts should be given "general amnesty," which further excited far-right influencers in QAnon circles on Telegram who discussed if they would be let back on Twitter. Musk already reinstated the Twitter account for former President Donald Trump, who was banned after the January 6 Capitol riot, after users voted Musk should do so in a separate poll.
After removing the Christchurch footage, Twitter told the New Zealand government it would scan for other uploads of the content, according to Radio New Zealand. Videos of the Christchurch attack have continuously Facebook removed at least 1.5 million versions in the immediate aftermath of the attack.
Twitter did not respond to Insider's request for comment about the Christchurch footage.
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