Business & Tech World

Facebook tightens live-streaming in crackdown on violence

San Francisco: Facebook announced Wednesday it is tightening access to livestreaming to prevent the rampant sharing of graphic video as took place with the Christchurch massacre.

People who have broken certain rules, including those against “dangerous organisations and individuals,” will be restricted from using the Facebook Live streaming feature, said vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.

“Following the horrific recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand, we’ve been reviewing what more we can do to limit our services from being used to cause harm or spread hate,” Rosen said in a statement.

A “one-strike” policy at Facebook Live will be applied to a broader range of offenses, with those who violate serious policies suspended from using the feature after a single offence.

Such offenses would include sharing a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context, according to Rosen.

“We plan on extending these restrictions to other areas over the coming weeks, beginning with preventing those same people from creating ads on Facebook,” Rosen said.

He added that technical innovation is needed to get ahead of the kind of “adversarial media manipulation” seen after the New Zealand mosque massacre, such as users modifying videos in order to slip past filters.

“One of the challenges we faced in the days after the attack was a proliferation of many different variants of the video of the attack,” Rosen said.

“People — not always intentionally — shared edited versions of the video which made it hard for our systems to detect.”

Facebook announced that it was putting USD 7.5 million into research partnerships with three US universities to improve image and video analysis technology.

“This work will be critical for our broader efforts against manipulated media, including deepfakes,” Rosen said, a reference to videos altered using artificial intelligence.

“We hope it will also help us to more effectively fight organised bad actors who try to outwit our systems as we saw happen after the Christchurch attack.”

The news came as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was set to join other world leaders in launching a “Christchurch call” to curb online extremism at an international meeting in Paris on Wednesday.

The move was prompted by the massacre in March at two Christchurch mosques by a self-described white supremacist, who broadcast live footage on Facebook from a head-mounted camera as he gunned down 51 people.

Top executives from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Twitter were also set to attend, though Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was to be represented by another executive from the social media giant. (AFP)

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