New Zealand’s privacy commissioner is holding no punches in his criticism of Facebook in the wake of the deadly mosque shootings in Christchurch, part of which was livestreamed by the gunman on the social media platform.
Calling the tech giant “morally bankrupt pathological liars,” John Edwards said on Twitter on Sunday night that Facebook “cannot be trusted.”
The social media platform “enable[d] genocide” in Myanmar, Edwards tweeted, referring to Facebook’s role in inciting violence and promoting discrimination in the Southeast Asian nation, aimed particularly at the minority Rohingya people.
Facebook also facilitates “foreign undermining of democratic institutions,” and allows the livestreaming “of suicides, rapes, and murders,” Edwards continued, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Facebook leaders “continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’ and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm. They #DontGiveAZuck,” Edwards concluded in a jibe aimed at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Edwards’ remarks, which he’d penned in response to Zuckerberg’s recent interview with ABC News, were shared widely on Twitter before the commissioner chose to take them down. He explained on Monday that he’d deleted his tweets “because of the volume of toxic and misinformed traffic they prompted.” He directed people to listen to an interview he did with Radio New Zealand instead.
In that interview, Edwards said Facebook’s livestreaming technology had the potential of “causing great harm,” and urged the company to put a time delay on its livestreams or even “turn it off altogether” until it has airtight technology in place that can prevent the dissemination of content like the one shared by the gunman behind the Christchurch attacks.
It took Facebook almost 30 minutes to detect the gunman’s livestreamed video of his March 15 attack on Al Noor Mosque, where more than 40 people were shot dead. A total of 50 people were killed and dozens more injured in the twin attacks on the mosque and the nearby Linwood Islamic Center.
The company said it removed about 1.5 million videos of the mass shooting in the first 24 hours after the massacre ― but 300,000 clips of the attack were successfully uploaded.
Speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Zuckerberg said Facebook was working to improve its ability to “identify livestream terror events” but stopped short of committing to any significant changes of the platform’s livestream technology.
He blamed “bad actors” for the widespread dissemination of the Christchurch video and insisted a time delay would “fundamentally break what livestreaming is for people.”
Edwards slammed Zuckerberg’s comments as being “disingenuous” because “he can’t tell us ― or won’t tell us, how many suicides are livestreamed, how many murders, how many sexual assaults.”
“I’ve asked Facebook exactly that last week and they simply don’t have those figures or won’t give them to us,” Edwards told Radio New Zealand.