Buffalo shooter clips proliferate on social media after Twitch deletion

Following Saturday horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, online platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Twitter are apparently struggling to prevent various versions of the shooter’s livestream from proliferating on their platforms. The shooter, an 18-year-old white man, attempted to broadcast the entire attack on Twitch using a GoPro Hero 7 Black. The company told Engadget it deleted its channel within two minutes of the violence starting.

“Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works quickly to respond to all incidents,” a Twitch spokesperson said. “The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring any account reposting this content.”

Despite Twitch’s response, that hasn’t stopped the video from proliferating online. According to New York Times journalist Ryan Mac, a link to a version of the livestream someone used a screen recorder to keep 43,000 interactions. Another Twitter user mentioned they found a Facebook post containing a link to the video which had been viewed more than 1.8 million times, along with a screenshot suggesting the post had not triggered Facebook’s automated backups.

A spokesperson for Meta told Engadget that the company designated the shooting as a terrorist attack and added the images of the shooter to a database which it said would help it automatically detect and remove copies before they are downloaded again. The spokesperson added that the company’s moderation teams work to catch bad actors trying to get around the blocks it has put in place.

In response to Mac’s Twitter thread, Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz mentioned she found TikTok videos that share accounts and terms that Twitter users can search to see the full video. “Clarify that the video is all over Twitter,” she said. We reached out to the company for comment.

“We believe that the hateful and discriminatory views conveyed in content produced by the authors are harmful to society and their distribution must be limited in order to prevent the authors from spreading their message,” a Twitter spokesperson told Engadget. . They added that the company works “proactively” to identify and take action against tweets that violate its guidelines.

Stopping terrorists and violent extremists from spreading their content online is one of the things that Facebook, Twitter and a handful of other tech companies mentioned they would do after the 2019 shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. In the first 24 hours after this attack, Meta said it deleted 1.5 million videosbut excerpts from the shoot continued to circulate on the platform for more than a month after the event. The company blamed its automated moderation tools for failure, noting that they had trouble detecting the footage due to the way it was filmed. “This was a first-person shooter video, in which we have someone using a GoPro headset with a camera focused from their shooting perspective,” said policy director Neil Potts. from Facebook, to British lawmakers at the time.

Updated 6:39 p.m. ET: Added commentary and additional information from Meta and Twitter.

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