New Zealand’s privacy commissioner calls Facebook ‘morally bankrupt’
A top New Zealand official blasted Facebook in a series of now-deleted tweets, calling the company “morally bankrupt pathological liars.”
John Edwards, the country’s privacy commissioner, wrote Sunday on Twitter that “Facebook cannot be trusted,” according to screenshots of his tweets taken by the New Zealand Herald.
He added that they “allow the live streaming of suicides, rapes, and murders, continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’ and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm.”
Edwards said Facebook enabled genocide in Myanmar, because of efforts on the social network to whip up hatred against the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority group in the Southeast Asian country. He also said Facebook helped undermine democratic institutions.
Edwards said in another tweet that “They #DontGiveAZuck,” according to the Herald. He later deleted the tweets, “because of the volume of toxic and misinformed traffic they prompted,” Edwards explained in another tweet.
Facebook was engulfed in controversy after a shooter in New Zealand livestreamed the March 15 attack on two mosques in Christchurch on the social network using its video tools. The shooter killed 50 people.
Facebook later admitted its systems failed to catch and delete the video. The company explained that the shooter’s video did not trigger Facebook’s automatic detection systems because its artificial intelligence did not have enough training to recognize that type of video.
The shooting was viewed live by fewer than 200 people and later viewed 4,000 times before it was taken down. Facebook said it had removed 1.5 million videos of the attack in the first 24 hours.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said a delay “might” have limited the number of views of a livestreamed video.
A delay on livestreamed videos “would also fundamentally break what livestreaming is for people,” Zuckerberg said. He said livestreaming is more than broadcasting — it’s “communicating,” because people comment in real time. “So if you had a delay that would break that,” he explained.
“That was a really terrible event,” Zuckerberg said about the terror attack. “We need to build our systems to be able to identify livestream terror events more quickly.”
Edwards criticized Zuckerberg’s explanation as “disingenuous” in a radio interview Monday because the company wouldn’t disclose to him how many suicides, murders or sexual assaults are livestreamed.
“I’ve asked Facebook exactly that last week and they simply don’t have those figures or won’t give them to us,” he said, according to the Herald.
Facebook didn’t immediately reply to CNN Business’ comment about Edwards’ remarks.