Is the social media safe to use?

Following the attacks at the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, many people and governments are targeting social media, most especially Facebook in helping to spread the video of the attack.

It is first of all, depressing that people fight with each other over many things such as race and religion. And then to post a disturbing video on the internet? What do the terrorists gain by doing so? Do they want to put fear in people? The human psychology is very complicated to understand even by the most brilliant scientist.

Almost every human being on this planet use social media either for fun or for business purposes. But they can also become vulnerable to terrorists in some way.

This latest incident has shaken the whole world. Although there’s freedom of expression in New Zealand, the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with the cooperation of other countries, has taken action against social media.

“We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published. They are the publisher, not just the postman.”

A report from Facebook stated that less than 200 people had watched the video live and the first user report of the video came 12 minutes after it had ended. However, a copy had been place on alt-right file-sharing site 8chan. But Facebook was able to remove the original and hash it so that other similar videos could be detected and removed. Within 24 hours, it had blocked 1.2 million copies at the point of upload and deleted another 300,000. But copies that had been edited or recorded from a screen proved harder to spot.

“We continue to work around the clock to prevent this content from appearing on our site, using a combination of technology and people” wrote Facebook Vice-president Chris Sonderby in an update posted on the platform.

Furthermore, two people have been arrested with sharing the video via social media. Both of them have been denied bail and can spend as long as 14 years in jail if found guilty.

The Prime Minister had also penned a letter to the chairman of June’s G20 summit in Osaka, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to add this issue to the top of the agenda. Also, a group of French Muslims is suing Facebook and YouTube for allowing the video to be posted on their sites.

The video was shared on many other platforms such as Reddit which have taken steps to remove as many copies of the footage as possible.

People who praise the shooter and revel in violence have been found to be posting such disturbing videos. For many years terrorists have been using social media to send their messages across the world. This can be because use of such platforms is free of charge and anyone can exploit them. Owners of these sites are responsible for maintaining and monitoring of what posts are acceptable and what aren’t acceptable. Although practically it may not be easy for them but this is a start to force them into more responsibilities to keep the world safe.   

Garima Nabh is the founder of New Age Magazine.

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