Meta can’t keep shootings off Facebook

By Scoop
May 18, 2022 · less than 3 min read

It’s a story we’re all too familiar with. 

Déjà vu 

From radicalization to outright attacks, social media is heavily implicated in almost all modern terrorism. This weekend, we were once again reminded just how much. Mirroring many far-right terrorist acts in recent years, a shooter published a racist manifesto online, before shooting dead 13 people, of whom 11 were people of color – all while broadcasting it online.  

The full picture is still being deciphered, but it’s becoming all too clear that despite their best efforts, social media firms just can’t keep terrorism off their platform. If the giants can’t monitor every single piece of online content – a more or less impossible feat – what role should congress now play in regulating them? 

Hindsight is 20/20 

The live streaming of terrorist acts is undoubtedly troubling. But as this weekend has proven once again, even after the fact, terrorist content can still circulate on the platform for days and weeks. From the manifesto of the shooter to the footage itself, almost all of it can still be found on Facebook.  

Social media firms use the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) as the primary means for monitoring online content. It’s an online forum that monitors potential terrorist activity and was able to shut most of the footage from this weekend down within two minutes. But with the footage still circulating, this forum is clearly not adequate for keeping a close eye on the content after the attack itself.  

So what’s next in the fight against online terrorism? Is there a way to guarantee footage never makes its way online? Congress is coming under increasing pressure to find an answer.  

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