French Muslim Group Sues Facebook and YouTube Over Christchurch Shooting Videos
Photo Credit: AfroTech

French Muslim Group Sues Facebook and YouTube Over Christchurch Shooting Videos

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) has filed a lawsuit against Facebook and YouTube for their mishandling of of videos showing the Christchurch shooting, according to the Agence France-Presse.

Agence France-Presse reported that CFCM’s complaint said they were suing the French branches of the two companies for “broadcasting a message with violent content abetting terrorism, or of a nature likely to seriously violate human dignity and liable to be seen by a minor.”

Those type of acts are punishable by three years imprisonment and an $85,000 fine, according to the Agence France-Presse.

The shooting originally broadcasted on Facebook Live. Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the New Zealand shooting in the 24 hours after it streamed. However, Facebook couldn’t identify all of them before upload, and videos exploded across social media.

In addition to a livestream, the shooter uploaded a 17-minute video to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Each of those platforms have struggled to fight the video’s spread.

Although YouTube hasn’t released specifics on the numbers of videos they’ve had to remove, a spokesperson for the company told The Hill, “The volume of related videos uploaded to YouTube in the 24 hours after the attack was unprecedented both in scale and speed, at times as fast as a new upload every second.”

Part of the CFCM’s complaint is over how long it took Facebook to remove the video after it broadcasted. In a blog post, Facebook said that the video was only viewed about 200 times during its initial broadcast and nobody flagged it to moderators, so it couldn’t have been removed.

The video’s spread can’t be buried under excuses, though. CFCM’s President Ahmet Ogras told CNN, “Facebook must take their part of responsibility in this and must do everything to anticipate these livestreams, as much as [they do with] hate messages and Islamophobia on their networks.”

Increasing Pressure Globally

Facebook, YouTube, and other tech giants aren’t just facing pressure from individual groups. Government authorities — including within New Zealand and the United States — have continued to show how unimpressed they are with Facebook’s efforts.

The Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie G Thompson, even called for big tech to appear before Congress.  Thompson wrote in a letter, “This video was widely available on your platforms well after the attack, despite calls from New Zealand authorities to take these videos down.”

Facing pressure from various governments and individual groups, tech companies won’t be able to ignore providing detailed answers to everybody’s questions.

CNN reported that the group wants any fines the companies may have to pay to go directly to the families of the Christchurch victims.