DUBAI: The New Zealand government has called on Twitter to remove newly uploaded footage of the Christchurch terror attack that was circulating again on the social media platform.
The video clips, which Twitter initially failed to recognize as harmful, were filmed by the Australian white supremacist who murdered 51 Muslim worshippers in two Christchurch mosques in 2019. The clips resurfaced after some Twitter users reposted them on Saturday, UK daily The Guardian reported .
The move prompted the government to raise the issue with the social media company. A spokesperson for the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said Twitter’s automated reporting function did not pick up the content as harmful. Arden’s office said: “Twitter advised us overnight that the clips have been taken down and said they would do a sweep for other instances.”
In 2019, the terrorist livestreamed his attacks on multiple social media platforms alongside his manifesto.
In response, Arden launched the Christchurch Call campaign after the attack, calling on social media companies to counter online extremism and misinformation. Twitter founder, Jack Dorsey, supported the initiative.
While Twitter assured the New Zealand government it continued to support the Christchurch Call community, Arden said that “time will tell” about the company’s commitment to removing harmful content.
“We will continue to maintain our expectation that Twitter does everything they can on a day-to-day basis to remove that content but also reduce terrorist content and violent extremist content online, as they’ve committed to,” Arden said to media on Monday afternoon.
Earlier this month, Arden addressed a national security, disinformation and online extremism summit, saying Twitter has been deeply involved in the Christchurch Call campaign “and to date, been a really constructive partner.” However, she said the partnership is in “unknown territory” after Elon Musk’s takeover of the company.
Arden urged Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, to “stick strongly to the principle of transparency” as social media platforms can be “a force for democracy, a force for connection and for good. But also, if misused, they can do a huge amount of harm.”
Under Musk’s new management, thousands of content moderators and human rights teams have been laid off, and the platform has been struggling to manage harmful content and racist tweets in the lead up to the World Cup.
Recently on Twitter, Musk posted a chart to his 119 million followers explaining that hate speech was down a third from its pre-spike levels in October. No further details were provided.