YouTube radicalized Christchurch shooter, New Zealand report finds

Susan Wojicki, CEO of YouTube, speaks at the 2019 Code Conference on June 10, 2019 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Asa Mathat | Vox media

The Australian terrorist, who killed 51 people during Friday prayers in two Christchurch mosques in 2019, was radicalized by YouTube, according to a report released Tuesday by the New Zealand Royal Commission.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she plans to speak to YouTube leaders about the platform’s role in the mass murder committed by Brenton Tarrant, according to the Australian Associated Press. Tarrant was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in August.

“What caught the eye was the statement that the terrorist stated that he was” not a frequent commentator on right-wing extremist websites and that YouTube is an important source of information and inspiration, “said Ardern. “This is a point I would like to pass directly to the leadership of YouTube.”

The report’s authors state that they have “no doubt” subscribed to “right-wing channels on YouTube” the shooters. In one of the sections of the report, titled “The Terrorist,” they write that he has viewed content promoting far-right and ethno-nationalist views on sites such as 4chan and 8chan.

“He’s also spent a lot of time accessing largely similar material on YouTube,” the authors said. “His exposure to such content may have contributed to his actions on March 15, 2019 – in fact, it is plausible to infer that it was.”

A YouTube spokesperson said, “While we haven’t reviewed the report’s findings, YouTube remains committed to removing violent extremism and hate speech from our platform. We look forward to reviewing the report in detail and working with us the Prime Minister and governments, industry partners and communities around the world to fight the spread of violent extremism online. “

YouTube has previously been linked to radicalization and white supremacist content, and the Alphabet-owned company has been accused of using algorithms that lead viewers to more polarized content when using the platform.

The New Zealand government did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

The 792-page report also found that the white supremacist visited an extremist Facebook group called “The Lads Society” complaining about Muslim immigration and violently threatening local immigrants.

The shooter emailed his manifesto to Parliament, the Prime Minister’s office and the media 8 minutes before the attack began. He also shared the manifest on the 8chan message board with a link to a Facebook page where he broadcast his attack live.

The 17-minute video that appeared to show the massacre was shared repeatedly on other social platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram over the following days. New versions of the video kept popping up and it became a crazy situation for the content moderators of the tech giants.

The shooter also donated to far-right organizations online and had a neo-Nazi reference in his username for a buy-and-sell website called TradeMe, according to the report.

Police mistake

The report identified a number of errors prior to the attack, but concluded that the tragedy was ultimately unavoidable.

The police failed to properly check the gun licenses, allowing Tarrant to amass a ton of semi-automatic guns.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster apologized and said: “We accept that in trying to judge whether the person is fit and suitable for holding a gun license, we could have done more to see if the two referees were good at the person knew enough to referee. ” “”

The officials also focused too much on Islamist terrorism, the report said.

The report contains 44 recommendations that have been accepted by the New Zealand government. Recommendations include the establishment of a new national intelligence and security service and the appointment of a minister to coordinate the government’s response to the report.

The investigation was opened by the New Zealand government in April 2019 to determine why and how the massacre took place. The Commission’s report was presented to the New Zealand government on November 26th and made public on Tuesday.

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