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Post-Christchurch killing, Facebook curbs live video facility

Reacting to the Christchurch killing which was streamed live on Facebook, the social media giant has announced that it will restrict people who violate its policies from using its Live video feature.
“Today we are tightening the rules that apply specifically to Live … From now on, anyone who violates our most serious policies will be restricted from using Live for set periods of time – for example 30 days – starting on their first offense. For instance, someone who shares a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context will now be immediately blocked from using Live for a set period of time,” the company announced in a blog post late on Tuesday.
The tech giant also announced that it will award research grants of $7.5 million to three American universities – Maryland, Cornell and California — to study and help detect manipulated media after Facebook failed to take down slight variants of the original Christchurch shooting video, which were circulating the platform for hours after the shooting.
The restrictions will apply to those who flout company’s dangerous organizations and individuals policy dealing with “terrorist activity, organised hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking and organised violence.”
Common Cause director Vipul Mudgal, while calling the move a step in the right direction, added that it will not stop spread of such content on the platform completely. “The business model of these companies is virality. The more things go viral, the more these companies earn. So, they don’t have any incentive to stop such content from being shared,” he said.
Mudgal said that the handles which share such hate content are extremely organised and well-oiled. “Tech companies might bar one handle from using the live feature, but there is no guarantee that the same person is not running multiple other handles. The long-term solution would be to hold these tech companies responsible, instead of blaming it on the user who uploaded the content,” he added.
Facebook was criticised for its inability to curb down the live videos of the New Zealand mass shooting at a mosque on March 15 in which nearly 50 people were killed. The suspect, an Australian supremacist, had broadcast live vidoes of the attack for 17 minutes on the platform, which had subsequently gone viral on the social media platform.
“One of the challenges we faced in the days after the Christchurch attack was a proliferation of many different variants of the video of the attack. People — not always intentionally — shared edited versions of the video, which made it hard for our systems to detect,” reads the blog, adding they deployed a number of techniques to eventually find these variants, including video and audio matching technology.
“People — not always intentionally — shared edited versions of the video, which made it hard for our systems to detect,” the company said in its blog post, adding that the grant will be used to develop new techniques to detect “manipulated media across images, video and audio, and to distinguish between unwitting posters and adversaries who intentionally manipulate videos and photographs.”

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