In the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Buffalo, New York over the weekend, Twitch has been praised for their rapid response to the streaming of incident, which was initially shown on their platform. The suspected shooter had only ever used his channel once before going live on the day of the shooting, but had his channel deactivated within two minutes after Twitch staff acted swiftly to prevent further broadcast.
This has not prevented many online and in politics weighing in, and trying to place the blame on the shoulders of social media companies, as is often the case. When put into context though, the two minute response time sits in stark comparison to the 17 minutes it took Facebook to take the stream of the Christchurch massacre down in 2019.
Millions of Shares
Sadly, while Twitch acted with alacrity, the video has been shared millions of times on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and is still being shared today. In a report in the New York Times, Twitch’s vice president of trust and safety Angela Hession is quoted as saying that the site’s rapid action was a “very strong response time considering the challenges of live content moderation, and shows good progress.”
In the same report Ms. Hession said the site and the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) were working together to try and prevent the further spread of the video. The GIFCT is a nonprofit coalition of social media sites and social platforms formed to tackle the challenges presented by terrorism and in particular its spread online.
What makes the situation potentially more urgent here is the fact the shooter from Buffalo explicitly mentioned in his ‘manifesto’ that he had been inspired in part by writings left behind after the Christchurch massacre. For some time now, psychology experts have warned of the dangers of publicising certain information regarding crimes of this nature, and Buffalo is yet more proof that sharing such materials can lead to more atrocities down the line.
Image credit: Andre Carrotflower