Social Media Platforms Struggle To Remove New Zealand Shooting Footage While Copies Keep Popping Up

As much as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube try to remove the graphic content, some users believe it is necessary to view the footage to understand the gravity of the situation.

A group of people gather around a memorial for the New Zealand shooting victims.
Hannah Peters / Getty Images

As much as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube try to remove the graphic content, some users believe it is necessary to view the footage to understand the gravity of the situation.

Just days ago, approximately 50 people were killed during a hate fueled attack at two separate New Zealand mosques. Brenton Harris Tarrant has been taken into custody for his involvement in the shooting, but whether or not other suspects have been identified has not yet been revealed by law enforcement. Before allegedly committing the unspeakable crime, Tarrant strapped on a body camera to record the graphic violence and live streamed it on Facebook. It began spreading like wildfire across the internet and social media platforms have spent nearly every hour since the attack trying to remove every copy. While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have removed countless versions, new copies continue to pop up, according to Tech Crunch.

While major news outlets have publicly shared brief snippets of the over 6 minute film, its entirety is far too graphic for television. The content of the raw footage is just as horrific and despicable as you could imagine and those who choose to view it don’t have to search hard to find it. In fact, they don’t even need to turn to the dark corner of the web. They need only to type a few key words into Twitter and dozens of copies pop right up.

Why do social media users continue to upload this graphic footage to the web? Some believe it is necessary to view the actual raw footage to understand the gravity of what has happened. They feel that if the video is removed from public domain, the world could forget the evil that occurred this past Friday and will get lost in the many other senseless tragedies going on around the world.

Still, it is necessary to consider the actual lives lost during this event and the many families that are now forced to try to come to an understanding of what has happened. Popular social media platforms have requested that users work with them to remove this graphic content by reporting copies of it that they may come across while surfing the web. Facebook issued a public statement condemning the footage.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy. Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and is removed as soon as we become aware of it. As with any major tragedy, we will work cooperatively with the authorities.”

As of Sunday, Facebook publicly released that they’ve already removed 1.5 million versions of the footage. However, it may be a nearly impossible feat to remove every copy out there.