A gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand who brutally murdered at least 49 Muslim worshipers, appears to have livestreamed video of the attack online, highlighting the toxic belief system behind the massacre.
The Facebook Live video, taken with a camera that appeared to be mounted on the gunman's body, shows a clean-shaven, Caucasian man with short hair driving to the Masjid al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. Before entering the mosque, he was seen listening to the Chetnik song "From Bihac to Petrovac village" in which Radovan Karadzic, who was convicted for genocide and other crimes for masterminding atrocities against Bosnian Muslims during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, is mentioned. A YouTube video for the song shows emaciated Muslim prisoners in Serb-run camps during the war. "Beware Ustashas and Turks," says the song, using wartime, derogatory terms for Bosnian Croats and Muslims.
The live footage shows he enters the building and fires repeatedly at worshipers as he moves from room to room. He stopped several times to reload, before exiting the mosque through the front door and shooting at the cars passing by. The shooter returned to a station wagon to get more ammunition, before re-entering the mosque to check for survivors. When the attack began, one anonymous 8chan user remarked: "actually happening. delete this thread now or its gonna be the end of 8pol." A few minutes later, another said "this sounds fun." "Nice shootin Tex," another commented.
The gunman, who has left at least 49 people dead, was not on the country's any security watch lists, despite the fact that he has posted pictures and links related to the mass shooting on his Twitter account, which has since been deleted, days before the attack. Reports reveal that he had prepared to conduct a terrorist attack days before opening fire on Muslims, who simply had gathered to pray on a Friday.
Social media companies under
criticism over extremist contentSocial media companies are coming over mounting pressure for hosting content from the suspects in the New Zealand shooting. Hours after the attack, copies of the gruesome video continued to appear on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, raising new questions about the companies' ability to manage harmful content on their platforms.
Online accounts linked to the gun attacks had in recent days circulated white supremacist imagery and extreme right-wing messages celebrating violence against Muslims. Britain's Home Secretary Sajid Javid said social media firms must take action to stop extremism on their channels. "You really need to do more @YouTube @Google @facebook @Twitter to stop violent extremism being promoted on your platforms," Javid wrote on Twitter. "Take some ownership. Enough is enough."