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.
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.
okay WTF twitch— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) May 27, 2019
WARNING: the new zealand mosque massacre is being streamed in full in the artifact section to 3,000 viewers for over 20 minutes now pic.twitter.com/N39CXVkNlT
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.
it's down now. the video went for over 30 minutes and unfortuately much further than this screencap. i reported it via the site at the very start but it wasn't taken down until shortly after being tweeted about. Artifact section has been a mess for days— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) May 27, 2019
come on Twitch not cool
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.”
i know the difficulties that platforms face in moderating content at such insane scale on a platform like fb or even twitch, on something like a holiday weekend as this one. but these companies can afford to pay people to make it happen, there's no excuse— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) May 27, 2019
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.”
Its appalling, it has been happening all weekend.— Louise (@louisetweety_) May 27, 2019
It's been going on all day under several accounts.— Ethik (@ehthick) May 27, 2019
@Twitch not having enough resources dedicated to monitoring stream content is really unacceptable for a company of your size.— B. G. (@206BG) May 27, 2019
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.
Thats the artifact section right now its on fire, Though i like the movies and porn streams with chat— Artic 18+ btw (@FallDrift) May 27, 2019
Yo deadasss this section is wack. The whole category is movies, porn, and other weird things smh— Ø ₱ ₮ ł ₵ ₳ Ⱡ (@Z3r0_OpTiCaL) May 27, 2019
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.
Yeah agree. Automated video recognition against a library of known bad videos would be a start, as would recognition of porn. I have many opinions about the priority of this problem at twitch which seem to match yours. They need to care, as a start point.— Olivia Grace (@oliviadgrace) May 27, 2019
Twitch have yet to issue a public response to the criticism they are facing, but we will update this post with any new information.