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French Muslim group sues Facebook, YouTube over Christchurch video

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) said on Monday that it was suing internet giants Facebook and YouTube for allowing the public broadcast of a live video by the man who carried out the New Zealand mosque massacre this month.

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media_cameraNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, centre, has demonstrated allegiance with the global Muslim community after the Christchurch mosque massacres. Picture: AP Photo

The council said it was suing the French branches of the two tech giants for “broadcasting a message with violent content abetting terrorism, or of a nature likely to seriously violate human dignity and liable to be seen by a minor,” according to the complaint, a copy of which was seen by AFP.

media_cameraPresident of the French Council of the Muslim Faith Mohamed Moussaoui during a ceremony for the victims of the twin mosque massacres in Christchurch. Picture: AFP

In France, such acts can be punished by three years’ imprisonment and a 75,000 euro ($A120,000) fine.

Facebook said it “quickly” removed the live video showing the killing of 50 people by a white supremacist in twin mosque attacks in Christchurch on March 15.

But the lifestream lasting 17 minutes was shared extensively on YouTube and Twitter, and internet platforms had to scramble to remove videos being reported of the gruesome scene.

media_cameraImage from video that was live-streamed on social media on March 15, 2019, depicting the gunman reaching for weapons in the back of his car before the mosque shootings. Picture: AP

The CFCM, which represents several million Muslims in France, said it took Facebook 29 minutes after the beginning of the broadcast to take it down.

Major internet platforms have pledged to crack down on the sharing of violent images and other inappropriate content through automated systems and human monitoring, but critics say this is not working.

Internet platforms have co-operated to develop technology that filters child pornography, but have stopped short of joining forces on violent content.

media_cameraPrayer opposite the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, March 22, 2019. France’s Muslim council is suing the companies who streamed the killing of 50 worshippers. Picture: AAP

A US congressional panel last week called on top executives from Facebook and YouTube, as well as Microsoft and Twitter, to explain the online proliferation of the “horrific” New Zealand video.

The panel, the House Committee on Homeland Security, said it was “critically important” to filter the kind of violent images seen in the video.

Originally published as Muslims sue Facebook, YouTube over massacre

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