French Muslim Group Suing Facebook, YouTube over Christchurch Streaming

Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
AP Photo/Mark Baker

A leading representative group of Muslims in France on Monday said it is suing Facebook and YouTube for streaming live coverage of the Christchurch massacre on their platforms.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) allege the mass-shooting at two mosques in New Zealand was publicly livestreamed by the attacker through his Facebook profile for 17 minutes.

A few hours after the attack, footage from the stream could still be found on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, as well as Facebook-owned Instagram and Whatsapp.

The Guardian reports Abdallah Zekri, president of the observatory of Islamophobia at the CFCM confirmed the legal complaint.

The council said it was suing the French branches of the two companies 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.

In France, such acts can be punished by three years’ imprisonment and €75,000 (£64,000) fine.

Facebook says it removed a staggering 1.5 million videos showing harrowing viral footage of the Christchurch mosque rampage in the hours and days after the attack.

A U.S. congressional panel last week called on senior executives from Facebook, YouTube, Microsoft and Twitter to explain the online proliferation of the “horrific” New Zealand video. The house committee on homeland security said it was “critically important” to filter out the kind of violent images seen in the video.

AFP contributed to this report

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