French Muslim group sues Facebook, YouTube over video of New Zealand massacre

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A group representing French Muslims is suing Facebook and YouTube over their handling of a video showing the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this month, Agence France-Presse reported Monday.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) filed the suit against the U.S. tech giants for “broadcasting a message with violent content abetting terrorism, or of a nature likely to seriously violate human dignity and liable to be seen by a minor,” according to the complaint, which was seen by AFP.

{mosads}A spokesperson for Youtube told The Hill they have aggressively tackled the spread of the video.

“The volume of related videos uploaded to YouTube in the 24 hours after the attack was unprecedented both in scale and speed, at times as fast as a new upload every second,” the spokesperson said.

“In response, we took a number of steps, including automatically rejecting any footage of the violence, temporarily suspending the ability to sort or filter searches by upload date, and making sure searches on this event pulled up results from authoritative news sources like The New Zealand Herald or USA Today. Our teams are continuing to work around the clock to prevent violent and graphic content from spreading, we know there is much more work to do.”

Google, which owns YouTube, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CFCM President Ahmet Ogras told CNN that Facebook needs to take responsibility for how long the video was available on its platform.

“Facebook must take their part of responsibility in this and must do everything to anticipate these livestreams, as much as [they do with] hate messages and Islamophobia on their networks,” Ogras told CNN.

Under French law, the allegations against the tech giants could result in an $85,000 fine and three years of imprisonment, according to AFP.

Facebook has said it removed the video almost immediately after police in New Zealand contacted them about it, roughly 29 minutes after the video began and 12 minutes after the suspected shooter’s livestream ended.

—Updated at 4 p.m. 

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