Facebook blocks Live function, White House snubs call for New Zealand to shoot reaction

PARIS/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook has announced steps on Wednesday to temporarily block users who do not comply with the rules of the broadcasting of live video, in the wake of a international outrage after a gunman killed 51 people in New Zealand in the last month and streamed the assault live on the page.

The tweaks to Facebook’s rules came as the White House snubbed other world leaders, who met with tech companies in Paris to back a call by the New Zealand minister for stringent action against social media hate speech.

Silicon Valley tech giants expressed their support for Prime minister Jacinda Ardern of the so-called ‘Christchurch Calling’, named after the city where the shooter attacked two mosques on the March 15 broadcast of his murders live.

But Washington refused to send a delegation to the meeting organized by the French President, Emmanuel Macron. The White House said that it would not endorse Ardern of the initiative, although it supported the broader objectives.

Facebook said in a statement it was the introduction of a “one-strike” policy for the use of Facebook Live, a service that allows users to broadcast live video. Who broke the company of the most severe rules anywhere on the site want to have their access to make live broadcasts are temporarily limited.

The range of offences that qualify for one-strike suspensions would be extended.

The company did not specify which offences would lead to such a ban or how long the suspensions would last, but a spokeswoman said it would not have been possible for the Christchurch shooter’s use of Facebook Live on his account under the new rules.

Facebook has under intensive control in the past few years about the hate speech, privacy lapses, and its dominant position in the social media. The company is trying to address those concerns during the turn of a more strenuous action of supervisors.

Ardern called the changes announced on Wednesday, “a good first step to limit the application is used as a tool for terrorists, and shows the Christchurch Call is acted.”

The company said it plans to extend the restrictions to other areas in the coming weeks, starting with the occurrence of the same people of creating Facebook ads. He also said it would fund for research at the three universities on techniques for detecting manipulated by the media, that her systems struggled to place in the aftermath of the attack.

Ardern said the research was welcome and that the edited and manipulated videos of the March 15, mosque shootings were slow to be removed, which results in a lot of people, including herself, seeing the video of the murder played in their Facebook feeds.


Macron hosted Ardern, British prime Minister Theresa May, the canadian, Justin Trudeau and other leaders at a summit on Wednesday to support Ardern initiative.

Signatories would “encourage media to apply ethical standards in the portrayal of terrorist events online, in order to prevent the strengthening of terrorism and violent extremist content,” although the initiative is not binding, light on details, and allow countries and companies to decide how to apply guidelines.

Countries, including Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, India and Sweden said that they have a backup there, just like the AMERICAN tech giants Microsoft, Alphabet Google and its video platform YouTube and Amazon.

But the White House said in a statement that the United States “is not currently in a position to conclude on the endorsement,” although he added: “we continue with the support of the general objectives expressed in the call”.

In comments made at a joint press conference with Ardern, Macron put a positive spin on the White House response.

FILE PHOTO: Stickers bearing the Facebook logo are displayed on the Facebook Inc. F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, USA, April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

“We will do everything we can so that there is a more concrete and formal obligation, but I find the fact that the AMERICAN government said that it shared the goals and the general will as a positive element,” Macron said.

Brad Smith, the chairman of Microsoft, said the appeal was: “that leads to real action, even if it is not binding”.

“The Christchurch Call is ultimately judged by the impact it has. And the impact it has will be determined not only by the government, but also by high-tech companies,” Smith told Reuters.

Reporting by Katie Paul and Mathieu Rosemain; additional reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in WELLINGTON; Gwenaelle Barzic, Jean-Baptiste Vey in PARIS; Editing by Peter Graff

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