(New York, N.Y.) – Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen released the following statement today in response to shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch that killed at least 49 people.
“The attack on New Zealand Muslims today is a shocking and disgraceful act of terror. Once again, it has been committed by an extremist aided, abetted and coaxed into action by content on social media. This poses once more the question of online radicalization.
“The shooter not only was radicalized online, but also live-streamed his atrocious actions on Facebook and Twitter. The decisions to create a manifesto, target a religious institution and broadcast the attack to the world mirrors the actions of other white nationalist attacks in other parts of the world in recent years.
“Reports say Facebook needed 17 minutes to remove the livestream. It is now emerging that the video is still circulating online. The technology to prevent this from happening is available. Social media firms have made the decision not to invest in adopting it.
“The global network of white nationalist extremism depends on the framework of social media. The inaction of social media platforms in addressing this problem serves to perpetuate it. The online spread of extremist ideologies can no longer be ignored and should be tackled at the root. We should hide behind misplaced freedom of expression concerns to prevent us dealing with content that incites hate and violence.”