World

Facebook tightens rules on live-streaming after NZ shooting

SAN FRANCISCO Facebook said it was tightening rules around its live-streaming feature ahead of a meeting of world leaders aimed at curbing online violence in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre.

A lone gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15 while live-streaming the attacks on Facebook. It was New Zealand's worst peacetime shooting and spurred calls for tech companies to do more to combat extremism on their services.

Facebook said in a statement it was introducing a "one-strike" policy for use of Facebook Live, temporarily restricting access for people who have faced disciplinary action for breaking its most serious rules anywhere on its site.

First-time offenders will be suspended from using Live for set periods of time, the company said. It is also broadening the range of offences that will qualify for one-strike suspensions.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the change addressed a key component of an initiative, known as the Christchurch Call, she is spearheading to halt the spread of violence online.

"Facebook's decision to put limits on live-streaming is a good first step to restrict the application being used as a tool for terrorists, and shows the Christchurch Call is being acted on," she said via her spokesman.

Facebook did not specify which offences were eligible for the one-strike policy or how long suspensions would last, but a spokesman said it would not have been possible for the shooter to stream on his account under the new rules.

Facebook said it plans to extend the new restrictions to other areas over the coming weeks, beginning with preventing the same people from creating ads on Facebook.

It will fund research at three universities on techniques to detect manipulated media, which Facebook's systems struggled to spot in the aftermath of the attack.- REUTERS

Technology