The Washington Post has reported that YouTube dealt with an “unprecedented volume” of violent videos after last week’s terrorist attack in New Zealand.
On Friday, a gunman murdered 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Currently, 35 more are hospitalized with 12 in critical condition, including a 4-year-old-girl. In an appalling act of cruelty, the murders were recorded and posted to social media channels around the world. As the news unfolded, the footage spread at an alarming rate. After the weekend, Facebook has reported that they removed an astonishing 1.5 million videos of the attack in just 24 hours.
Although YouTube has not made an official statement about how many videos have been moderated, the company said they have experienced an unprecedented volume of violent content. According to The Washington Post, moderators worked through the night to remove tens of thousands of videos of the terrorist attack. In an interview with The Post, chief product officer Neal Mohan said that some uploads were altered to prevent automated tools from spotting the footage.
Reports suggest that copies of the video were being added as fast as one per second. Eventually, this drove the streaming site to disable some search options to control the problem. In addition, they also shut down some human review features to speed up the process. However, by Friday, they had no choice but to send newsworthy clips via human moderators to check for violence or disturbing imagery.
“We, too, have seen the face of such evil with attacks in places such as Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and Charleston. And in the wake of the New Zealand tragedy, I want to make one thing very clear: We will not permit such hate in the homeland.”
However, unlike the United States, New Zealand’s government has made decisive moves to reform gun laws in the country. In a statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:
“We have listened to public sentiment following Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch and decided to remove all semi-automatic firearms sales and parts associated.”