Social media giants slammed for extremist content
LABOR leader Bill Shorten has blasted social media giants such as Facebook for creating a "swamp" where extremists can flourish only to then try to distance themselves from the violent consequences.
Mr Shorten said powerful online companies must be held to account for allowing material to be published and broadcast that would land traditional media companies such as newspapers in court. He added freedom of speech online was no excuse.
"I say to the social media giants, you have a commercial dynamic that you sell as liberty. But there is no liberty to hate. There is no liberty to practice hate speech," he said on Sunday.
"I say to those big social media giants, you cannot be distant, an island away from the conduct of your platforms."
His comments came after Facebook's failure to prevent Christchurch terrorist Brenton Tarrant live-steaming his massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers on Friday to hundreds of thousands around the world.
The Opposition Leader pointed out that if Australian media published the same scope of content they would "be in court" while if a person spoke it in public the police would be called.
"We wouldn't allow television or print media to put out some of the filth and rubbish, and violence, and perversion which gets put out in social media, so we can't just have one standard for old technology and give a leave pass to new technology.
"Why is it that when it comes to making a dollar the big social media giants know everything about the users of social media, (but) when it comes to detecting and preventing and discouraging hate speech, then they become Pontius Pilate and wash their hands of the whole affair."
Mr Shorten said time was "running out" to learn lessons from people being radicalised.
"We've got to get the balance right. Social media is a marvellous tool, but it can't be used as a swamp in which wrongdoers can hide and crawl out to do even worse things."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also lashed out at the social media companies, calling for them to do more.
He flagged shutting down live streaming as a possible solution.
"In the past, they have suspended this sort of Facebook live-streaming and assurances were given that when it was put back up, it could avoid this," Mr Morrison said.
"Clearly it hasn't. So I think there is some very real discussions that have to be had about how these facilities and capabilities, as they exist on social media, can continue to be offered where there can't be the assurances given at a technology level, that once these images get out there, it is very difficult to prevent them."
Facebook New Zealand's spokeswoman Mia Garlick admitted algorithms failed to detect the Christchurch attack being streamed saying police tipped off its team of 15,000 content moderators.
"Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the stream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video," she said.
"We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter as soon as we're aware."
Social giants turn a blind eye to cesspool they create
By Jack Houghton, Campbell Gellie & Clare Armstrong
Social media giants are failing to remove extremist content which has been on their platforms for years.
The Daily Telegraph has uncovered dozens of examples of racially charged extremist content on Facebook and YouTube despite users reporting the imagery.
Australian neo-Nazi group Antipodean Resistance, which has an active YouTube page with more than 200 followers, posted a video 12 months ago of white supremacists marching with Nazi flags. The video was reported to YouTube but the Google-owned platform simply put a warning on the clip that the content could be "inappropriate or offensive to some audience".
A search through YouTube discovered a cesspool of anti-Muslim videos and anti-Semitic content.
The Daily Telegraph on Sunday was still able to find a number of posts on Facebook that praised Christchurch terrorist Brenton Tarrant, including a disturbing tribute by white supremacists Infidel Brotherhood Worldwide, who have their own Facebook page.
Last night Facebook removed the offensive content.
"We do not allow hate speech from any person, group or organisation on Facebook because it creates an environment where people feel personally attacked and uncomfortable sharing what matters to them," it said.
Faiths unite to condemn killer and mourn
By Clare Armstrong
Gunman Brenton Tarrant was labelled "Australia's shame'' at an interfaith service in Sydney to remember his victims on Sunday afternoon.
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher and Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed both addressed the special congregation in an emotional service at St Mary's Cathedral.
Bishop Fisher said it was "to our shame" that Tarrant was Australian.
"We stand together today in our horror at the real evil we have witnessed, at the violence perpetrated and at the hate that inspired it," he said.
"We stand together in our disgust at the racism of this enemy of mankind and the blasphemy of this enemy of God."
He added: "We stand together today, in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, in their grief, horror and disgust, for if someone has killed, maimed and terrified our neighbours, they have killed, maimed and terrorised us."
Dr Mohammed said the terrorist attack would "not divide" Australian society. "Those who seek to undermine our multiculturalism … seek to use racism to try and divide us and sow seeds of division … you will not."
More than 100 people attended the interfaith service including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, NSW Governor David Hurley and NSW Labor leader Michael Daley.