March 30, 2023

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Buffalo racist killing: direct death, impossible social media challenge

Despite advances in technology, preventing live coverage of violent films is still a challenge, especially in the absence of a legal framework. Mary Ann Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami, argues that “if (the sites) are provided live, they expose themselves to a certain number of rapes, murders, suicides and other crimes.” “That’s a lot of area.”

The hundreds of seconds it took Twitch to identify and take offline Payton Gendron’s “livestream” of Payton Gendron, who killed ten people at a supermarket in upstate New York on Saturday, testify to the increased concern. In March 2019, Facebook took 17 minutes to stop Brendan Torrent’s attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, which killed 51 people.

The worst thing is that in October 2019, this time in Twitch, the author of an attack on a synagogue in Halle (Germany) was able to upload his journey of 35 minutes simultaneously, before being cut off. If major social networks claim to be watching these videos with the help of artificial intelligence and commitment groups, they can quickly download and edit the images and post them on other sites that are ready to host them.

On Wednesday, a site provided multiple excerpts from the shoot, which was 90-seconds long and was viewed nearly 1,800 times since Sunday, when it was removed later in the day. Violent content is in circulation beyond direct content, which is almost legitimate due to the lack of relevant texts to prevent it.

“In the United States, it’s not illegal to publish live video (from buffalo),” said Ari Cohn of the TechFreedom think tank. It does not come in the form of “unprotected expression” by the US Constitution.

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Permanent hunting

A Facebook spokesperson explains that for more established sites, finding this violent content in a new format, putting it back online under a new title, is a permanent hunt. Twitter has a policy of suspending the accounts of suspicious attackers, and allows itself to “remove descriptions or content-spreading tweets” created by these authors.

In an exchange with reporters on Tuesday, Guy Rosen, vice president of content integration at Meta, explained that filters should be carefully calibrated to avoid editing relevant images, such as news videos or testimonials, from people who condemn the attacks.

Despite the investment of major sites, it is, by definition, impossible to prevent someone from broadcasting even a few seconds of violent activity. Mary Ann Franks goes on to say that “technical groups are the main problem when making decisions for the general public”, “a tool that transcends its usefulness and disadvantages”.

However, at a time when video is the main impetus for the development of social networks, it does not seem to be a “direct” threat, especially with the emergence of direct sales, as the new mode of online trading has wind in its journey. Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube all offer live, with Snapshot being the only exception.

In a letter to him, the buffalo shooter described the possibility of a live broadcast of his attack as a “motivating” factor. In the absence of federal law, US states should take the initiative in this regard.

In Texas, a law passed last September aimed to prevent social networks from rejecting content based on their author’s “view”. It has been criticized for restricting sobriety and allowing the spread of violent news or images. “The recent (buffalo) tragedy underscores that this is not a discriminatory issue,” said Matt Schruers, president of the Association of Computer and Communication Industry (CCIA). “Preventing the industry from wanting to pursue bad actors can have life and death consequences.”

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