The live streaming of a deadly anti-Semitic attack in Germany revived memories in New Zealand Thursday of the Christchurch massacre and prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to renew calls to curb online extremism.
Ardern launched a campaign pushing tech giants to clamp down on the spread of extremist material in March after a lone gunman killed 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, streaming part of the atrocity on Facebook.
She said Wednesday’s attack that claimed at least two lives in the eastern German city of Halle, which was streamed on the Amazon-owned platform Twitch, showed the importance of the campaign dubbed the Christchurch Call.
“Of course after March 15 in Christchurch, we were very aware that there was every chance that kind of streaming of such a horrific event could happen again,” she told reporters.
“That’s why we put in place the Christchurch Call to Action.”
After the Christchurch attack, allegedly carried out by a self-described white supremacist, Facebook removed 1.5 million copies of the video within 24 hours of the shootings.
Twitch said the German attack was streamed live for 35 minutes and eventually seen by 2,200 people.
Ardern said because Amazon was one of the global tech firms that had signed up to the Christchurch Call, swift action was taken to stop footage of the German attack spreading.
“The incident protocol that we developed has kicked in and companies are communicating with one another to ensure that video does not spread online,” she said.
She said the goal was to stop such footage being uploaded in the first place.
The New Zealand Jewish Council said it was “horrified” by the Halle attack.
“Given the clear parallels with the Christchurch attacks, including the attacker livestreaming the incident, we are yet again painfully reminded of the vulnerability of our community and the vital need for protection,” it said in a statement.
New Zealand’s chief censor David Shanks banned anyone from sharing or downloading video of the attack in Germany, following a similar move after the Christchurch killings.
“While this video is not filmed in New Zealand and fatalities are fewer than in Christchurch, the fundamentals of this publication are the same as that of the March 15 livestream,” he said.
“It is clearly promotional and crosses the line in terms of New Zealand law as it depicts extreme violence and terrorist atrocities.” AFP