Tech Companies Scramble to Remove New Zealand Shooting Video

Dianne Manson/Getty Images
Police investigating the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand

Facebook took down a live stream of the mosque shootings that left at least 49 people dead, and removed the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Internet companies say they're working to remove video filmed by a gunman in the New Zealand mosque shooting that was widely available on social media hours after the horrific attack.

Facebook said Friday it took down a live stream of the shootings and removed the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts after being alerted by police. At least 49 people were killed at two mosques.

The gunman reportedly broadcast 17 minutes of the attack. Twitter and YouTube owner Google also said they were working to remove the footage from their sites. Twitter also suspended the shooter's account.

In a statement, Twitter said, "We are deeply saddened by the shootings in Christchurch on Friday. Twitter has rigorous processes and a dedicated team in place for managing exigent and emergency situations such as this. We also cooperate with law enforcement to facilitate their investigations as required. 

In a statement, a YouTube spokesman said, "Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy. Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and we are employing our technology and human resources to quickly review and remove any and all such violative content on YouTube. As with any major tragedy, we will work cooperatively with the authorities.” 

YouTube has already removed thousands of videos related to the incident and encourages users to flag any videos they think might violate YouTube's guidelines, which prohibit graphic or violent content except in cases of documentary or news value, such as news reports that include footage of the incident. Warnings and age restrictions are applied to videos not suitable for all viewers.

Facebook New Zealand spokeswoman Mia Garlick said in a statement that the company is "also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware."

She said Facebook is working directly with New Zealand police as they carry out their investigation.

9:03 a.m. This story has been updated with YouTube's statement.