A U.K. man has reportedly been arrested for making a Facebook post in support of the terrorist attack in New Zealand that claimed the lives of 50 people.
Officials in Oldham announced that a 24-year-old man was arrested for the post, which they said supported the attack. As The Independent reported, the arrest was made after the Greater Manchester Police said they “became aware of a post on social media making reference and support for the terrible events in New Zealand.”
“This is a very difficult time for people. The events in New Zealand have reverberated around the world. Many people are in deep shock and are worried,” police said in a statement. “It is at times like this that, as a community, we stand together. Where the law permits and people cross the line, we will take robust action, which may include arrest and prosecution.”
The man’s arrest has sparked some controversy, with opponents saying a social media post would not warrant being arrested.
The New Zealand attack took place Friday at a pair of mosques in the city of Christchurch. Police said a heavily armed gunman opened fire on the unarmed men, women, and children inside the mosque, ultimately killing 50 people. The alleged gunman also posted warnings to far-right websites and live streamed the shooting on Facebook Live.
In the wake of the attack, social media platforms worked hard to find and delete copies of the video captured during the attack. Facebook noted in an update on Twitter that it removed 1.5 million copies of the video in the first 24 hours after the terrorist shooting. The site also noted that it was taking down even edited versions of the video that did not show graphic content.
Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we're also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content." — Mia Garlick, Facebook New Zealand
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) March 17, 2019
Officials in New Zealand still want more answers from Facebook about the attack and the alleged gunman’s user of the social media site, Axios reported. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would like to know how the deadly attack was able to be live streamed. Ardern also said she had plans to reach out directly to Facebook.
“This is an issue that goes well beyond New Zealand but that doesn’t mean we can’t play an active role in seeing it resolved,” she said. “This is an issue I will look to be discussing directly with Facebook.”
New Zealand's prime minister says she'll ask Facebook officials how the Christchurch attacks were able to be live-streamed, as the company revealed it removed 1.5 million videos of the shootings in 24 hours https://t.co/YrXjk1adGv
— Axios (@axios) March 17, 2019
The man in the U.K. arrested for his alleged Facebook post supporting the New Zealand shooting is being held on suspicion of sending malicious communications, authorities said.