Former Facebook Programmer Pleads For Stricter Regulation After New Zealand Attack

16 March 2019, 10:25 | Updated: 16 March 2019, 12:21

A former programmer at Facebook calls for stricter regulation of social media after a terrorist attack in New Zealand was streamed live on Facebook.

James said that technology has advanced so much that social media has the ability to stop the spread of extremist material on their platforms - but choose instead to not use it.

Speaking to Tom Watson, the former Facebook programmer called for tougher regulation of not just social media but the internet in general after at least 49 people were killed in the attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"The technology is there and I feel that social media has a big responsibility in actually stopping the spread of all of this," he said.

"I think if you're above a certain viewership, we need to regulate them and we need to tax them properly because it's not fair.

"We need to go to the source but at the same time you've got to stop the messenger."

Tom Watson in the LBC studio
Tom Watson in the LBC studio. Picture: LBC

James said: "These terrorists feed on their ego, they feed on notoriety, they feed on viewership.

"If we can cut down the messenger, we can we can put strict regulations on these big social media sites once they reach a certain membership this can have a big impact on actually limiting you know all of this."

James also said that he couldn't bring himself to watch the video filmed by the gunman, and admitted that he has seen a lot of content that the platform has prevented from going online.

"We have the technology to make it a lot easier, but Facebook for some reason want the traffic.

"I can't speak for them but what I would say is that we need the government to really step in and be strict, don't be weak, to step in."

In response to the incident, a spokesperson for Facebook said that the platform is working to remove "any praise or support" for the attack.

Mia Garlick from Facebook New Zealand said: "Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this horrendous act.

"New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video.

"We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware.

"We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues."