After Buffalo, a New Zealand expert advocates better management of online content

Former New Zealand content censorship reviewer David Shanks believes that restrictions to prevent the dissemination of such images should be tougher.

It’s so sad and I fully sympathize with everyone affected by [la fusillade de Buffalo] , says Mr. Shanks. He was New Zealand’s Censor Examiner for five years.

David Shanks is part of a group of international experts in Winnipeg for an event organized by the Canadian Center for Child Protection (CCPE).

The Center brought together these experts with the aim of developing strategies to secure the virtual world. The Buffalo shooting, which occurred just days earlier, shook event attendees.

Above all, it revived painful memories for Mr. Shanks, who had taken the decision to ban images of the Christchurch shooting in 2019 from the web. The killing had left 50 dead and several injured and had been broadcast live by the shooter .

Such use of social media was then unprecedented, with images spreading like wildfire according to David Shanks.

I realized that we were dealing not only with a horrible terrorist attack, but also with an appalling and dangerous media event. […] [La vidéo] multiplied and was even recommended to some users recalls Mr. Shanks.

Unlike other states, New Zealand gave Mr Shanks the power to ban video in addition to any content posted by the shooter. The event caused a stir, sparking a discussion about regulating content on the internet.

What is once again attracting attention? Another tragedy. »

A quote from David Shanks, content management expert

In Buffalo’s case, the shooting left 10 dead and several injured in a predominantly black neighborhood. It is labeled by US authorities as a hate crime as well as racially motivated violent extremism.

As in Christchurch, the shooter used a camera attached to his helmet and broadcast the images live on the Twitch platform. According to the police, he tried to imitate the New Zealand massacre and spread his racist ideology.

For the Buffalo killings, authorities say the footage was quickly reported, which prevented it from spreading as quickly as the Christchurch one. However, the images are still online on several social networks.

More government action

For his part, the general secretary of the English body Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety also a content management expert, John Carr, believes the events in Buffalo shine a light on a tech industry that isn’t regulating itself enough.

Unless governments take their rightful place [le secteur de la technologie] will continue to do things the same way […] [Laisser l’industrie] acting on a voluntary basis does not work argues Mr. Carr.

The director of CPPELianna McDonald, is part of a Canadian government committee working to establish a set of standards to tackle harmful content on the web.

Canada is among several countries that want to further regulate online content, in addition to the European Union, Australia and New Zealand.

There is change from governments and different platforms, but Ms. McDonald feels it is too slow. The best time is now she says.

With information from Kelly Geraldine Malone.

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