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New Zealand privacy tsar accuses Facebook of failing to cooperate

/ 05:51 PM April 10, 2019

WELLINGTON — New Zealand’s privacy regulator on Monday accused Facebook of failing to cooperate on tackling livestreaming in the wake of the Christchurch mosques massacre, saying founder Mark Zuckerberg was “disingenuous” about its systems.

The gunman livestreamed his rampage at two mosques on March 15 on Facebook, with the footage proliferating widely online despite the platform saying it “quickly” removed the footage.

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Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said Zuckerberg was “disingenuous” in saying bad actors were going out of their way to circumvent Facebook’s systems.

“They actually didn’t have any systems to detect the events in Christchurch,” Edwards to Radio New Zealand, adding that a delay on livestreaming would be a good interim measure.

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“It is a technology that is capable of causing great harm… He (Zuckerberg) can’t actually tell us, or won’t tell us, how many suicides are livestreamed, how many murders, how many sexual assaults.

“In fact I’ve asked Facebook exactly that last week and they simply don’t have those figures or won’t give them to us.”

Zuckerberg said last week that a delay on live feeds was not on the cards despite pressure on the US firm to crack down on the sharing of violent video or images.

Edwards added that the social network needed to step up and be responsible for the content that the site hosts.

“This is a global problem. The events that were livestreamed in Christchurch could happen anywhere in the world,” he added.

“They have been responsible for appalling content that set the preconditions for genocide in Myanmar. They have enabled their service to be manipulated by Russian trolls to influence the outcome of elections.”

Australia last week passed controversial laws that could see social media executives from firms such as Facebook or YouTube face jail for failing to take down violent extremist content quickly.

Measures that Facebook says it is considering after the Christchurch attacks, which claimed the lives of 50 people, include barring people who have previously violated its community standards from livestreaming.

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TOPICS: Facebook, Internet, New Zealand, Privacy, technology
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