New Zealand mosque shooter radicalized by YouTube, investigation finds

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The shooter who killed dozens of people at two mosques in New Zealand last year was radicalized in part by right-wing anti-Muslim videos hosted on YouTube, a lengthy report on the attack found.

The report released Tuesday identified a failure by the country’s intelligence agencies to take seriously both the threat of white supremacist violence as well as warnings from Muslims living in the country about a rise in hate incidents.

It also found that the shooter, Brenton Tarrant, told investigators that while he frequented hangouts such as 8chan and 4chan, much of the anti-Muslim content he accessed was found on YouTube.

Jacinda Ardern, the country’s prime minister, said that her government would implement all the recommendations raised in the report, according to The Associated Press. She added that she would be in contact with YouTube’s leadership over the issue.

Ardern banned some high-capacity semiautomatic weapons, such as the one used by the shooter, following the attack.

“What particularly stood out was the statement that the terrorist made that he was ‘not a frequent commentator on extreme right-wing sites and YouTube was a significant source of information and inspiration,’ ” the prime minister said, according to CNBC.

“While we have not yet reviewed the findings of the report, YouTube remains committed to removing violent extremism and hate speech from our platform. We look forward to reviewing the report in detail and continue our work together with the Prime Minister, as well as governments, industry partners, and communities around the world to combat the spread of violent extremism online,” a YouTube spokesperson said, CNBC reported.

A spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Canterbury, which is located in Christchurch, told reporters that the report had revealed a failure by the government to protect the safety of the community, the AP reported.

“The report shows that institutional prejudice and unconscious bias exists in the government agencies and needs to change,” Abdigani Ali said.


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