Last Saturday saw a mass shooting in Buffalo, a city in the state of New York, which killed ten people and injured three more. The shooter reportedly had racist motives, deliberately targeting African Americans.
Notably, the shooter livestreamed the attack on Twitch, and he seems to have been radicalised by the infamous Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, which took the lives of 50 people three years ago – and were also streamed online.
This situation has reignited public attention towards the question of moderation on social platforms. As CNBC reports, New York authorities are investigating Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, and Discord, a messaging platform that was reportedly used by the shooter.
As analysts note, bigger platforms and Twitch have actually done a relatively good job quickly taking down the Buffalo shooting video. Yet, “mass shooting videos keep spreading online because smaller sites like Streamable aren’t as good at content moderation,” journalist Casey Newton writes. It took hours for Streamable to take down a clip of the shooting uploaded to the platform, and it gathered millions of views in the meanwhile.
Thus, a major problem social platforms struggle with is the durability of violent content. The video from Christchurch still remains online, despite big platforms constantly countering the attempts to re-upload it, and it’s likely the same will be the case with the Buffalo shooting.
This week, several more news outlets closed down in Russia for various reasons. Particularly, Forbes Russia suspended publication of its print magazine. According to the company, the two major reasons are the flight of Western luxury brands, which were major advertisers, from Russia, and the growing cost of paper and typography services.
Also, the Russian government closed the Moscow bureau of Canadian public broadcaster CBC and revoked its journalists visas and accreditations. The move comes after Canada banned Russia Today (RT), a Russian state TV station.
At the same time, amid the speculation that YouTube will be the next major Western social platform banned in Russia, after Facebook and Instagram, a Russian official said the government has no plans to block YouTube.
Maxut Shadayev, Russia’s minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, said that “a ban is an extreme move that can be only possible, to my understanding, when we have a competitive alternative”. (RuTube, a Russian clone of YouTube, suffered a major cyber attack recently and has not fully restored service days after the attack).
As Russia attempts to hold onto the territories it occupied during its 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russian occupation authorities continue to use brute force in trying to control local media.
According to a local media report, occupying forces in the southern port city of Kherson kidnapped Oleksiy Vorontsov, an engineer for “Suspilne Kherson”, a local branch of Ukraine’s public broadcaster. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
Kherson is one of the few major cities controlled by Russia. Since early March, the studio of “Suspilne Kherson” has been controlled by the occupying forces, but the public broadcaster continues to cover the region.