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French Muslim group sues Facebook, YouTube, about the images of Christchurch massacre

PARIS (Reuters) – One of the main groups of Muslims in France said on Monday it was suing Facebook and YouTube, accusing them of inciting violence by streaming footage of the Christchurch carnage on their platforms.

FILE PHOTO: A woman reacts at a make-shift memorial outside the Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand 23 March 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) said that the companies had distributed material that encouraged terrorism, and they damage the dignity of the human beings. There was no immediate response from the company.

The shooting in two mosques in New Zealand on March 15, which killed 50 people, was livestreamed on Facebook for 17 minutes, and then copied and shared on social media sites on the internet.

Facebook said that it is a hare to remove hundreds of thousands of copies.

However, the images can still be found on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc YouTube a few hours after the attack, as well as Facebook-owned Instagram and Whatsapp.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the CFCM is Islamophobia, control unit, thus the organization launched a formal legal complaint against Facebook and YouTube in France.

Both companies are faced with widespread criticism about the images.

The chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security wrote a letter to the top executives of the four large technology companies last week urging them to do a better job of removing violent political content.

A spokesman of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) welcomed the French group in action. He said that his organization was planning to contact with Facebook to register their complaint, but has been busy dealing with the aftermath of the attacks.

“They have no big time, this was a person who was looking for an audience, and … you was the platform he chose to advertise for himself and for his heinous crime,” said FIANZ spokesman Anwar Ghani, referring to Facebook.

“We have not been in contact with the (French) group … but surely something can be put off by the social media space in terms of these types of crimes, we would be in favour of that,” he said.

A man who has been charged with one count of murder over the Christchurch shootings and will then appear in the court on 5 April.

Reporting by Julie Carriat; Additional reporting by Charlotte Greenfield in WELLINGTON; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by John Irish and Paul Tait

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