The horrible shooting in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, was designed from the beginning to get attention, taking advantage of social networks to make sure that as many people as possible would hear about the deaths and the hatred that underpins them. Officials have reported a "significant" number of people killed by the attacks in two mosques. Several people have been arrested so far. The New Zealand police told the people to avoid the mosques, and told the mosques that " close their doors ."
A 17-minute video that appeared to show the shooting was posted on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram A post on 8chan, a message board, included links to a manifesto and a Facebook page where the poster, an alleged shooter He said a live broadcast of the attack would be broadcast. Facebook has removed the page and the video, but the video had already traveled.
The New Zealand massacre was broadcast live on Facebook, it was announced on 8chan, it was posted on YouTube, it was commented on Reddit and it was reflected all over the world before technology companies could even react.
– Drew Harwell (@drewharwell) March 15, 2019
Both the video and the manifesto are designed to maximize attention. At the beginning of the video, the shooter says: "Remember, guys, subscribe to Pewdiepie," a reference to the popular YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, who has a history of promoting anti-Semitism. The Kjellberg channel has the most subscribers on YouTube, with 89 million, and has been trying to recruit more so that it is not surpassed by another YouTuber, T-Series.
A reference to this contest forces Kjellberg to refuse the shots, which is exactly what he did. "I feel absolutely sick that this person pronounces my name", Kjellberg said to his 17 million followers on Twitter. Kjellberg's position is unenviable; If he had not rejected the shots immediately, it is possible that someone had suggested that his channel was somehow an inspiration for the murderer or murderers. But it is also clear that if any of his many followers missed the shots, they were now aware of them.
This article by Verge will also make people aware of mass murder and its hate message. But there is no way to discuss the strange dynamics of the Internet around you without telling people what happened. I sympathize with Kjellberg precisely because I am in the same position.
The manifesto related to the shooting is decidedly racist. At first, it refers to the "white genocide", a neo-Nazi conspiracy theory that says that white people are being replaced, and the 14 words, a slogan of white supremacy. He also professes admiration for other white supremacist murderers. Racism in itself is sincere: after all, it led to mass murder, but other parts of the manifesto seem to contain buzzwords designed to spur its spread.
For example, although the author of the manifesto claims to be Australian, and a person in custody was born in Australia, the document contains several references to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Massive gunfire in the United States has led to a heated debate over gun laws, and advocates of the Second Amendment argue that gun control is unconstitutional.
The manifesto, which has 73 pages, tends to drop names. He mentions Candace Owens, an American conservative expert, as well as Fortnite and Spyro the Dragon videogames. These references seem to be aimed at creating certain types of narratives in the media that will keep terrorism on the news.
And the shooter or shooters want to stay in the news. References to other white supremacist assassins are the gift. These high profile killings are meant to scare innocent people and recruit other white supremacists; Without attention, crimes do not make sense to the people who committed them.
Mass shootings, in general, are meant to attract people's attention. Social networks have weakened or destroyed many of the guardians who protect the general public from exposure to this type of violence. Before the Internet, it was unusual for someone, besides the police and the media, to receive this type of material. Now, it is possible that they are broadcast quickly, reaching a wide audience
In 2015, a shooter in Bridgewater, Virginia, murdered his victims on live television and uploaded the video to Twitter and Facebook. In order to attract their attention, both platforms use automatic playback videos by default, a default value that caters to advertisers. After the shooting, nothing changed on any of the platforms, so users were exposed to atrocities again in the live killings from Christchurch. The original live broadcast would have been difficult to prevent, but the reuploads, which are played automatically, spread the horror to a much larger audience.
The rapid diffusion of both the video and the manifesto also tells us how inadequate moderation is on the internet, assuming that moderation exists at all. The video has been appearing again and again on YouTube and Twitter, and people are discovering ways to get around the filters of the companies. Mediafire and Mega house the manifesto; Both are commonly used to publish illicit material because they offer little or no supervision. It also appears in Scribd.
The person or persons involved in the killing had copied the previous terrorist attacks on people of color. Mass killings can be contagious, and the more people who commit them become glamorous through media coverage, the greater the number of imitators. But not only do we have to worry about the mass media (TV, newspapers and important websites). As people gain more experience on how to capture attention through social networks, the main platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Google) will have to discover how to stop the dissemination of these materials, as well as the praise or support of attacks terrorists like this one. Otherwise, they risk inspiring more copycat murders.