French Muslim group sues Facebook, YouTube over Christchurch footage
PARIS (Reuters) – French Muslims said on Monday it was suing Facebook and YouTube, accusing them of inciting violence by allowing the streaming of footage of the Christchurch massacre on their platforms.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) said the companies had disseminated material that encouraged terrorism, and harmed the dignity of human beings. There was no immediate comment from either company.
The shooting at two mosques in New Zealand on March 15, which killed 50 people, was livestreamed on Facebook for 17 minutes and then copied and shared on social media sites across the internet.
Facebook said it raced to remove hundreds of thousands of copies.
But a few hours after the attack, footage could still be found on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, as well as Facebook-owned Instagram and Whatsapp.
Abdallah Zekri, president of the CFCM’s Islamophobia monitoring unit, said the organization had launched a formal legal complaint against Facebook and YouTube in France.
Both companies have faced widespread criticism over the footage.
The chair of the US House Committee on Homeland Security wrote a letter last week to top executives of four major technology companies urging them to do a better job of removing violent political content.
Gunman kills three people in French Christmas market, flees
Earlier, a gunman on a security watch list killed three people and wounded a dozen others near the picturesque Christmas market in the historic French city of Strasbourg evening before fleeing.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the shooter had evaded a police dragnet and was on the run, raising concerns of a follow-up attack.
“The government has raised its security threat to the highest level and is bolstering border controls,” Castaner told a late-night news conference. “We will also reinforce security at all Christmas markets to prevent copycat attacks.”
With France still on high alert after a wave of attacks commissioned or inspired by Islamic State militants since early 2015, the counter-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation.
Police identified the suspect as Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29, who was known to the intelligence services as a potential security risk.