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  • Mourners of the New Zealand mass murder hug outside the mosques where the killings took place. March 17, 2019

    Mourners of the New Zealand mass murder hug outside the mosques where the killings took place. March 17, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 March 2019

When asked if Facebook should end live streaming New Zealand's Prime Minister Ardern said she'd speak "directly with Facebook" about the matter.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the “issue” of live streaming videos is something she “will look to be discussing directly with Facebook."

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Prime Minister Ardern made the comment to reporters Sunday when asked if the social media monopoly should stop live-streaming.

There are "further questions to be answered" by the company, Ardern said, adding: "This is an issue that I will look to be discussing directly with Facebook.”

A quickly convicted 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant filmed and live streamed his anti-Muslim attack for 17 minutes over Facebook in which at least 50 worshipers in two Christchurch mosques were shown being killed Friday. The killer, who was charged with multiple counts of first degree murder Saturday, also injured 48 others in what Ardern and other world leaders are calling a well-planned “terrorist attack.”

Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand said the California-based company was working "around the clock to remove violating content." A company spokesperson said: "In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload."

However the video content had already spread to YouTube and Twitter.

The New Zealand leader said Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg had sent condolences since the mass shootings.

"Certainly, I have had contact from Sheryl Sandberg. I haven't spoken to her directly but she has reached out, an acknowledgement of what has occurred here in New Zealand," Ardern said during the Sunday press conference.

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"We did as much as we could to remove, or seek to have removed some of the footage that was being circulated in the aftermath of this terrorist attack," the prime minister told reporters. "But ultimately it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal," putting the responsibility of content on the shoulders of the major social media outlets.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the same Sunday press conference that social media companies had "co-operated" since the attack to take down the video. He added, "assurances were given" that once the content was removed from the Internet sites it would not go back up.

"Clearly it hasn't (happened)," said Morrison to reporters. "I sadly have to say that the capacity to actually assist fully is very limited on the technology side," said the Australian prime minister.

The Wall Street Journal reports that online hate speech message boards "are uploading and editing the video,” despite efforts to take it down from the World Wide Web.

"So I think there are some very real discussions that have to be had about how these facilities and capabilities as they exist on social media," said Morrison.

Ardern said that some bodies of victims of the shooting will be turned over to their families and loved ones Sunday for burial. It is customary in Islamic religion to bury the dead within 24 hours, something that wasn’t possible in this case because of the ongoing investigation around the murders, Christchurch police said.

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