One of the many disturbing details of the white nationalism terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand was that the killer live streamed a video of it on Facebook. In case you’re an internet or social network newbie, “live stream” means real time, as it was happening. Viewers were able to watch people being murdered as it happened.
Of course, the video violated all sorts of the social network’s policies. That guy won’t be allowed to post again, so there. Facebook rushed to remove the video…12 minutes after it had ended. Naturally, there are online goobers who downloaded the thing and re-uploaded it. Some of those who reuploaded did it so they could be the one to deliver breaking news to their friends. Others may have done it to share the outrage and thought they were doing a service. And, a lot of those who reuploaded were cheering and celebrating the attack. Over the 48 hours after the attack, over 1.5 million reuploads of the video were attempted.
There is a segment of our society that supports white terrorism, despite what Donald Trump says. The killer had posted links to the video, as well as his manifesto, to the racist hater board 8chan before the attack. There were people sitting in front of their monitors with popcorn waiting for it to take place.
What’s the deal with 4chan and 8chan? Why are there two of them? Is 8chan four times the hate of 4chan? Please don’t tell me the answer because those are rhetorical questions.
Facebook claims only 200 people saw the live stream as it happened and only 4,000 before they removed it. Who knows if that’s true because the network has been caught lying in the past about their views to attract advertisers. The beginning of the massacre would have been a great time for one of Facebook’s famous outages that outrage each of us so much, but those things never occur early in the a.m. east coast time.
Usually, when Facebook removes content, it’s only after a user has reported it. In this case, Facebook claims they removed it after being contacted by police in New Zealand. That is being disputed by Jared Holt, a member of Right Wing Watch who was monitoring 8chan and reported it to Facebook. And I thought the guy at Media Matters assigned to monitor Limbaugh had a shitty job.
At this very moment, Facebook is removing further reuploads of the video by white nationalists. The company says it has generated a hash of the video to prevent any unedited versions from being posted and is using audio recognition to identify versions of the video that have been screen recorded. 1.2 million attempted uploads of the video were blocked within the first 24 hours, but that means 300,000 versions still managed to slip through Facebook’s filters. On top of all this, they have their regular day job of stopping the racist shit Steve King uploads.
Other networks are combating the attempts to upload, like YouTube, Twitter, Reddit (real popular with racists), and Steam. Steam? Great. Now there’s another social network I don’t know anything about (Google+ is gone so we have that going for us). These social networks aren’t just working to remove the video, but also “tributes” to the attacker.
Personally, I ran across the video on Twitter shortly after the attack without even searching for it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I didn’t watch the entire thing and I don’t recommend that you watch it either, if you haven’t already. Though, I’m sure you can still find it on 8chan (Seriously, is 4chan and 8chan like Twix? You got one for white supremacists and another for white nationalists?).
A lot of people don’t even want to deal with politics on Facebook and would rather see bathroom selfies (my nieces need to stop those), pictures of babies, vacations (yay, you), food (I don’t care), and cats. That’s all well and good until your pre-teen stumbles upon pictures of Steve King’s cat.
Creative notes: Yes, the kitty is inspired by Berkeley Breathed’s Bill the Cat from his great comic strip Bloom County. There’s an apology in small print on the cartoon acknowledging it. I Googled “Kitty Kitty Bang Bang” and my name to see if I had used the title in the past. Previously, I used Mr. Whiskers Kills. I still like that one.
Watch the video.