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Twitch criticized after New Zealand mosque shooting streamed for 30 minutes

by Matt Porter

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Twitch has come under heavy criticism for failing to quickly remove footage of March’s terrorist attack at two New Zealand mosques which was broadcasted on the site for over 30 minutes.

51 people were killed, including former CS:GO pro player Atta ‘crazyarab’ Elayyan, when automatic rifles were fired inside two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, with at least 50 more injured in the attack.

The gunman who carried out the shooting livestreamed the attack on Facebook, and it appears that a copy of the video was recovered, and then broadcasted on Twitch on May 26.

Twitch
Twitch
Footage of the attack was broadcasted on Twitch on May 26.

Posting on Twitter on May 26, Rod ‘Slasher’ Breslau showed that a channel using the Twitch category for Valve digital card game Artifact was rebroadcasting the footage from the gunman’s livestream, with almost 3,000 viewers.

Slasher wrote that the stream was taken down after 30 minutes of the video had been played, stating that he reported it using the site’s built-in system, but it wasn’t until he publicly posted about the stream that it was finally taken down.

The account that streamed the footage has now been removed and likely banned from the site.

Twitch has come under scrutiny for allowing the stream to remain active for so long, especially considering the nature of the footage being broadcasted.

While Slasher empathized that he understands the “difficulties that platforms face in moderating content on a platform like [Facebook] or Twitch,” he stated that “these companies can afford to pay people to make it happen, there’s no excuse.”

According to people who replied to Slasher’s initial tweet, the footage had been broadcasted from a number of different accounts throughout the day. Many expressed their frustrations with Twitch not having enough staff active to deal with this kind of situation, calling it “unacceptable” and “appalling.”

Others stated that the Artifact category had been overrun with content that was against Twitch’s Terms of Service all weekend long, noting that movies and porn have also been streamed using the card game as the category.

A Twitter user named Olivia Grace suggested that Twitch should attempt to implement “automated video recognition,” which would scan streams for footage like this against a database of videos that should not be able to broadcast.

Twitch have yet to issue a public response to the criticism they are facing, but we will update this post with any new information.