New Zealand’s top government-appointed privacy official has described Facebook as “morally bankrupt” and urged his country to follow Australia’s lead by enacting laws that could jail social media executives for allowing live streaming of violence such as was seen during the Christchurch mosque attack last month.
Privacy Commissioner John Edwards slammed Facebook’s response to a gunman using the platform to livestream some of the slaughter of 50 worshippers and the wounding of 50 more at two mosques on March 15.
ABC News reports Mr. Edwards made his comments on Monday after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg rejected calls to introduce a delay in his livestreaming service Facebook Live, saying it would interfere with the interactivity of livestreaming and diminish the user experience.
“Facebook cannot be trusted,” wrote Mr. Edwards. “They are morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar), facilitate foreign undermining of democratic institutions.
“[They] allow the live streaming of suicides, rapes, and murders, continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’ and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm.
“They #dontgiveazuck” concluded Mr. Edwards. He later deleted the tweets, saying they had prompted “toxic and misinformed traffic.”
I have deleted the tweets promoting my discussion about Mark Zuckerberg’s interview because of the volume of toxic and misinformed traffic they prompted. Here is the actual conversation with @SusieFergusonNZ on @NZMorningReport https://t.co/YcCmnFvT7r
— John Edwards (@JCE_PC) April 8, 2019
Mr. Edwards was responding to an interview given by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to America’s ABC network, in which he failed to commit to any changes to the Facebook live technology, including a time delay on livestreams.
Mr. Zuckerberg said incidents like the live streaming of the Christchurch mosque attacks were the result of “bad actors”; not bad technology and a time delay would disrupt the enjoyment of users who broadcast events like birthday parties or group hangouts.
In a later interview with RNZ on Monday, Mr. Edwards described Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments as “disingenuous”, and said the company had refused to tell his office how many murders, suicides and sexual assaults had been broadcast using the platform.
Last Thursday the Australian Parliament passed new laws making it a crime for social media platforms not to quickly remove “abhorrent violent material.”
The crime would be punishable by three years in prison and a fine of $10.5 million, or 10 per cent of the platform’s annual turnover, whichever is larger.
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