New Zealand shooting: why Facebook couldn’t stop the perpetrator from streaming his attack

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“We don’t check what people say before they say it, and frankly, I don’t think society should want us to. Freedom means you don’t have to ask for permission first, and by default, you can say what you want.”

That’s Mark Zuckerberg, circa September 2017. At the time, the Facebook CEO was describing his company’s response to Russia’s attempt to manipulate the last presidential election.

I’m assuming that he still stands by those comments today, after a gunman used Facebook to live-stream his slaughter of dozens of people in New Zealand. Though I’ve asked Facebook PR to make sure.

But regardless of how Facebook — and Twitter and YouTube and Reddit and the other platforms that helped spread images and videos from yesterday’s mass shooting in Christchurch, which authorities have deemed a terrorist attack — respond to criticism about their roles today, the key thing to remember about…

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