Published: Thu, May 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Facebook limits livestreaming ahead of tech summit in Paris

Facebook limits livestreaming ahead of tech summit in Paris

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she doesn't understand why the United States hasn't responded to mass shootings by passing stronger gun laws.

"Following the horrific 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", Facebook VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said in the blog post.

The White House will not sign an global call to combat online extremism brokered between French and New Zealand officials and top social media companies, amid US concerns that it clashes with constitutional protections for free speech.

French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attend a launching ceremony together with other state leaders for the "Christchurch Appeal" against terrorism at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 15, 2019.

In Ottawa, the House of Commons committee on access to information, privacy and ethics recently issued a summons for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to appear as witnesses in relation to a Privacy Commissioner's report that criticized the company for not doing enough to protect the privacy of Canadian users.

In the announcement, Facebook said it will be practicing a "one strike" rule, where accounts violating serious policies will be restricted from using Facebook Live for certain periods of time.

"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.

In an opinion piece in The New York Times over the weekend, Ardern said the Christchurch massacre underlined "a horrifying new trend" in extremist atrocities. "Facebook has made a tangible first step to stop that act being repeated on their platform".

"New Zealand's Muslim community be attacked in that way, the only answer was to do everything we could to prevent it from ever happening again", Ardern said.

"There is a lot more work to do, but I am pleased Facebook has taken additional steps today ... and look forward to a long-term collaboration to make social media safer", she said in a statement.

The company said it plans to extend the restrictions to other areas over coming weeks, beginning with preventing the same people from creating ads on Facebook.

New Zealand tech commentator Paul Breslin had described Facebook's move to tighten the rules around livestreaming as a PR exercise. It also blocked 1.2 million of them at upload, meaning they would not have been seen by users.

To assist with such purges, the company is investing $7.5 million in research, across the University of Maryland, Cornell University and the University of California, Berkley, to improve video detection software.

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