Facebook will stop rule breakers live streaming after the Christchurch massacre, but is set to resist bigger changes

  • Facebook is going to stop users from posting live videos if they have broken the company’s community guidelines in the past, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
  • The change, first mooted by COO Sheryl Sandberg, follows the Christchurch mosque massacre being broadcast on Facebook Live.
  • Facebook looks set to eschew bigger changes like slapping a time delay on live videos – an old TV trick allowing potentially offensive material to be censored before it reaches viewers.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Facebook is going to introduce new restrictions on live streaming this month after the Christchurch mosque massacre was broadcast on the social network, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Citing sources close to Facebook, the Australian newspaper said it will stop users from posting live videos if they have broken the company’s community guidelines in the past.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the tweak will be announced before Facebook’s first-quarter earnings on 24 April. It will also precede a meeting of an Australian government task force, which is due to hold talks with Facebook on the same day as the Q1 earnings.

Read more: Facebook investors are making another dramatic bid to oust Mark Zuckerberg and abolish the firm’s share structure

The idea of punishing users who have previously broken rules was first floated in an open letter by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg following the New Zealand attack, in which 50 people were shot dead when a gunman entered two mosques in the city of Christchurch. The suspect streamed the event on Facebook Live.

“We have heard feedback that we must do more – and we agree. In the wake of the terror attack, we are taking three steps: strengthening the rules for using Facebook Live, taking further steps to address hate on our platforms, and supporting the New Zealand community,” Sandberg wrote in The New Zealand Herald. “First, we are exploring restrictions on who can go Live depending on factors such as prior Community Standard violations.”

Read more: Facebook rejects idea of putting time delay on live videos to stop horrors like the New Zealand mosque shootings from being broadcast to the internet

The tweak could signal that Facebook is poised to resist bigger changes to Facebook Live. The Australian government has suggested slapping a time delay on live videos, an old TV trick allowing potentially offensive material to be censored before it reaches viewers.

Facebook has previously said this would be impractical. In a blog last month, the social network said a time delay would be difficult because there are millions of live streams a day, it would “further slow down” the reporting and review of harmful videos, and delay first responders.

Facebook has said that the live Christchurch massacre video was viewed fewer than 200 times and was not reported while it was being streamed, although a reporter for Right Wing Watch said he reported the video mid-attack. Business Insider has contacted Facebook for comment.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.