Images of Peter R. de Vries fighting for his life, of a gunman entering a school, of the victims of a massacre. You see it regularly on social media. On the one hand, because of the volume: when a video is deleted, the next one is already uploaded. On the other hand, social media platforms don’t seem to respond quickly enough.
The most notable example is the mosque shooting in New Zealand in 2019. Facebook was completely destroyed because it gave the shooter a platform to livestream his gruesome act for 17 minutes. Regardless of the circumstances, such images should never appear on social media. The only question is to what extent the platforms can also compensate for this. With filming earlier this week, that part was less dramatic: The shooter wanted to live stream on Twitch, but got less than two minutes of airtime when he committed his crime.
You’re in luck, you think. There were also only 22 viewers. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Among those 22, there were still viewers who wanted to make the footage public, so the intense footage of the traumatic event was still going around on all kinds of social media. Millions of people read exactly what the shooter wanted and wanted on Twitter and Facebook. Exactly as the shooter would want. Exactly what should be concealed, many people think.
Too many different videos
The tricky part is that, of course, all it takes is one copy of a video to be able to distribute it indefinitely. At the same time, the question is why artificial intelligence does not perform better in this regard. Much like how it can recognize a photo from a few pixels elsewhere on the internet, shouldn’t that technically be possible with images in a video as well? YouTube can answer that. Since filming in Buffalo, 400 different variations of the video have gone offline. People edit and repost videos in the hope that they will stay online.
Why Twitch can take it offline much faster than Facebook likely has to do with the fact that Twitch is mostly about games, so content that falls outside of that stands out. Facebook users often post many more different types of content and topics, making them harder to catch. It is impossible for social media to immediately take these kinds of nasty images offline or even prevent them from appearing online. These platforms are too big for that. Luckily, they know where to be: for example, they now share hashes, which are a kind of fingerprint on a video, making it easier to quickly take unwanted content offline. They do so jointly within the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which was founded in 2017.
Always on the retina
However, the problem will never go away completely. After all, we are dealing with people. Some find it unacceptable that next of kin share these images or don’t want people to have these images in their minds for years (think Pim Fortuyn or John F. Kennedy, these are images we all share in a split second ). one second). see us again). Another thinks you should also see the horrible things happening on Earth. Some think it’s a good lesson, this raw news. The other wants to watch it for the same reason that we regularly have traffic jams in the Netherlands: because of viewers from the other lane.
Luckily, social media is finding more and more ways to get videos offline as quickly as possible. The fact that they unite within this GIFCT is a good development. During the Buffalo shooting, that organization’s so-called “content incident protocol” was activated 2.5 hours after the shooting began. Then, for each new version created by users, a new “hash” was created and shared within the GIFCT.
It is and remains difficult when working with media that is made to be social and to ensure fast and high engagement. Also, the font, for example, is sometimes a reason people share content. Although the police always state themselves that the images should not be shared on social networks but should be sent directly to the police.
Sometimes people overlook this in their speed and willingness to help, or they hope more people see the footage and a fugitive can be found faster. So it’s certainly not always out of bad intentions that violent images appear online, but ultimately it can actually encourage more bad intentions.
It is hoped that the GIFCT will become increasingly responsive when such situations arise. Together you can do more than alone and although social media normally competes with each other, it’s good that they don’t do it for this purpose. And if they are in competition, please do so by taking that content offline as soon as possible.
When she’s not typing, she’s traveling to the wonderful world of entertainment or somewhere cool in the real world. Mario is the man of her life…
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