- New Zealand’s privacy commissioner over the weekend lashed out at Facebook, calling those behind the company “morally corrupt pathological liars.”
- The commissioner lambasted Facebook for its policies which allow users to stream video in real-time, paving the way for potentially malicious content to be spread quickly.
- Facebook has faced global criticism for its policing of livestreams in the wake of the Christchurch shooting last month, which left 50 people dead and dozens more injured.
- Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed calls to introduce a delay on Facebook livestream content and said the spread of the Christchurch shooting livestream was the result of “bad actors.”
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New Zealand’s privacy commissioner lashed out at Facebook, calling those behind the company “morally corrupt pathological liars.”
“Facebook cannot be trusted,” John Edwards, Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand, said in a series of now-deleted tweets over the weekend.
“They are morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide,” he wrote, referring to Facebook’s admission in November that it failed to prevent the social network from being used to incite violence in Myanmar.
Edwards also slammed the social network’s lack of policing of livestreams. Global debate over livestreaming on social networks was ignited after the tool was used by the shooter in last month’s Christchurch attacks which left 50 people dead and dozens more injured.
“[They] allow the live streaming of suicides, rapes, and murders, continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’ and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm,” Edwards wrote. “They #DontGiveAZuck.”
Edwards comments follow an ABC News interview that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave last week, in which he dismissed calls to introduce a delay on Facebook livestream content and said the spread of the Christchurch shooting livestream was the result of “bad actors.”
“Most people are livestreaming, you know, a birthday party or hanging out with friends when they can’t be together,” Zuckerberg told ABC News, adding that a delay would break the flow of communication between the livestreamer and their audience.
Edwards furthered his criticism of Facebook, describing Zuckerberg’s interview as “disingenuous.”
“It is a technology which is capable of causing great harm,” Edwards told Radio New Zealand in an interview on Monday.
Facebook has faced harsh criticism in the aftermath of the Christchurch shooting which was livestreamed to its platform in real time.
Last month, Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the New Zealand shooting in 24 hours, and deleted the shooter’s Facebook account and his original live video. Still, the footage was copied and spread quickly across other tech platforms.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last month said she planned to take up the issue of the livestreaming with Facebook, and told reporters that Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg had been in contact to discuss the attacks.
“Certainly, I have had contact from Sheryl Sandberg. I haven’t spoken to her directly but she has reached out, an acknowledgment of what has occurred here in New Zealand,” Ardern said.
Australia last week approved new social media laws in the wake of the deadly attack. New legislation will make it a criminal offence to host or stream violent content, and is designed to prevent social media platforms from being “weaponised” by malicious actors who want to broadcast harmful activities. The laws also seek to hold social media giants accountable for the content produced on their site.
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