Facebook prepares live-streaming crackdown in response to NZ shootings

Image: Ink Drop/Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock)

In the wake of the Christchurch attack, Facebook has been under pressure from governments around the globe to do something about how it handles live broadcasts on its platform. One of the biggest proponents asking for restrictions on live streams is the Australian government.

Following the attack, a new Australian law has been passed that makes the failure to take down “abhorrent violent material” a criminal offense.

Facebook is scheduled to meet with a taskforce from the Australian government later this month to discuss the issue, but a report this morning by the Sydney Morning Herald suggests the social media company is already preparing to crack down on live streams on its platform.

New restrictions are reportedly set to go live later this month, and will officially be announced after the company meets with the Australian government representatives. In the meantime, though, sources have told the Sydney Morning Herald that any user who has violated Facebook’s rules, like spreading hate speech, will be entirely blocked from launching live streams.

Delivering on commitments?

The company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, had previously promised that the social media platform will be taking further steps to address the issue of hate speech. While she was unclear as to what those ‘steps’ would entail, a new Facebook policy now specifically bans white nationalist and white separatist content alongside white supremacist posts.

Full details on the upcoming restrictions to Facebook live streaming are as yet unknown, but the meeting between the company the Australian government takes place on April 24, so more will almost certainly come to light after that date.

Google, however, has already put policies in place to limit live broadcasts on YouTube. For example, users with less than 1,000 subscribers can no longer livestream when using a mobile device, and only channels with no restrictions in the past 90 days will be able to broadcast video live.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.