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Facebook, YouTube Blindsided by Mosque Shooter's Live Video (bloomberg.com)
42 points by deegles 3 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 91 comments

When this attacker explicitly says that his goal is to get the US left to censor the right in the hope the right will react strongly is one of the most disconcerting parts of this story. Especially when it seems like the ball is rolling towards his goal.

It is worthwhile to ask what the role of media, social media or traditional, is when extreme individuals on the fringes are empowered to cause us all to destruct each other.

The role of media is to get clicks and monetise them into ads. The collapse of a society into violence is, in the short term, great for this, as increasingly worried people hit refresh more often. It's "you'll provide the pictures, I'll provide the war" all over again.

Not to mention the sections of the traditional or social media that have been experimenting with how much they can anger people against vulnerable groups without quite printing death threats in the paper. Or just, you know, casually advocating the end of rule of law. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemies_of_the_People_(headlin...

There are a lot of people in the West who, while they would refrain from pulling the trigger themselves, would happily either advocate that someone else do so, or watch someone die, simply because they're Muslim. The example that comes to mind is Katie Hopkins calling for refugees to be machinegunned.

It is worthwhile to ask what the role of media, social media or traditional, is when extreme individuals on the fringes are empowered to cause us all to destruct each other.

We have created conditions of perverse incentives in our media. We reward extremists. We reward unfounded accusations. We reward people saying wacko things. "If it bleeds, it leads."

We need to stop allowing the extremes to "wag the dog."

EDIT: This doesn't mean we should censor people. Rather, it means we need to become a little cynical and self aware of the mechanism of outrage virality itself.

Specifically, we need to stop mindlessly rewarding mass murderers with attention. We need to stop mindlessly rewarding people who act extreme for attention, period.

A recent quote I loved from YC's Paul Buccheit (who helped inspired "Don't be Evil at an early Google"):

“[Social media] is like a game where you get 1 point for being fair and thoughtful and 1000 points for character assassination”


This is partly why I spent so much time writing a media literacy guide to explain the incentives behind what we see in our feeds and our newspapers:


That's not social media, that's called "life".

I do not think this holds up to evidence.

If you regularly treat people you are friends with badly it is generally on you and people will choose to disengage from a relationship with you.

If you regularly behave in a destructive manner towards members of a real life group then you at some point run out of individuals in that group that will invite you to real life group gatherings.

This is exactly why sociopaths and psychopaths quickly run out of connections and have to move around a lot.

> If you regularly treat people you are friends with badly it is generally on you and people will choose to disengage from a relationship with you.

Counterpoint: the Republican Party in the US still has strong support amongst many people its policies end up hurting.

Of course he's going to get what he wants, just like all the Islamic terrorist groups who've explicitly stated that their goal is to get the US right to go after Muslims as a whole in order to push them over to their side have in the past. That's what makes this such an evil and effective tactic.

So it’s now a left wi g position to not think live footage of murders should be freely broadcast in graphic details with no context or journalistic input?

I would guess the idea is that this act would be used to justify further suppressing the expression of right wing positions under the guise of preventing extremism.

If people use "censoring a violent act" to commit a violent act, they were going to do it anyways.

This. I think people who are trying to put this in context need to read his pdf/manifesto. Some people will balk at that because they feel it will give credence to his beliefs. That’s burrying your head in the sand.

ISIS, Osama Bin Laden, Al Queda in Iraq, and every other effective terrorist org has telegraphed their intentions. STILL we have, time and again, fallen into the trap they set. It would be funny if it wasn’t so damn tragic.

>It is worthwhile to ask what the role of media, social media or traditional, is when extreme individuals on the fringes are empowered to cause us all to destruct each other...

Just curious, are you one of the people who would say that Pewdiepie has a role in this shooting and all the division as well?

No. We clearly have an unproductive homeostasis between the radical left and radical right, and the rest of us is uncomfortably caught in the middle.

The radical left call everyone that is effective at expressing any other opinion alt-right, which is where the unfounded and silly assertion that Pewdiepie is related to any of this comes from.

I wouldn't quite put Pewdiepie in the 'caught in the middle' bucket though. First there's the jokes he's made:

- using the N-word (more than once) - doing a nazi salute and dressing up in nazi garb - paying two Indians(?) to hold up a sign with 'death to all jews' on it.

On top of that he not only subscribes to quite a number of radical/far right people (Stefan Molyneux, Lauren Southern), but did a shout-out to a channel that is pretty far down the far-right side of the spectrum (E;R).

Then of course there's the fact that this support works two ways. The 'far right' really seems to like him a lot!

To be clear, I'm not saying he is a white supremacist, a racist, or even 'far right'. I'm really not. I can't read his mind, and obviously it's true that if one wants to troll, the above is a very effective approach.

(Although he could also, I dunno, mix it up by doing some far left stuff. Promote communism, make a Stalin shrine or guillotine the rich jokes. Or do any of many other things that are provocative that aren't as much associate with the far right. defend PHP?)

But the least that I would argue is that he's definitely not part of the middle that is 'caught' in between all this. Not in behavior, and not in effect. And in that context I don't care too much about intent (which we can never really know).

Pewdiepie even restricted, probably temporarily, his subreddit [1]

His users were creating some pretty irritating memes out of this tragedy and he took action to moderate things until things calm down.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/PewdiepieSubmissions/

taplogger 3 days ago [flagged]

Perhaps his goal was to disconcert in the exact way you describe. Consider deleting this comment.

So instead of interpreting his intentions using a straightforward plausible explanation supported by his manifesto, you suggest that it is better to interpret his motivations using an unfounded conspiracy theory?

I just find it unseemly to give so much headspace to whatever he said in his memo. Consider not allowing his irrelevant arguments influence how and why you are disconcerted.

IMHO suggesting that OP delete their comment is giving that proverbial ball another nudge.

Can you see the irony in all four posts? (from OP to mine)

It seems that when an actor announces their plan and then provokes, response is to the provocation not the plan.

Similar to Bin Laden's goal of bankrupting his enemies by luring them into never ending wars.

Accelerationists have always been around.


Personal attacks are not allowed here. We ban accounts that do that. If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow the rules when posting to HN in the future, we'd appreciate it.

Describing facts and providing insights into what someone reprehensible said is not cover. To the contrary that is how you help each other grow as individuals by integrating what each of us don't see so that we can see can create a better map of the world and become more competent.

With regards to censorship I never claimed his manifesto was censored. I was pointing out the fact that he in this manifesto said that his goal was to have the left increase censorship of the right to cause a counter-reaction.

> You, similarly, are just providing cover for these terrorists.

That's a pretty intense claim, in what way is OP "providing cover"?

As defined in Bush 43's playbook. Disagreeing with my perspective on responding to terrorism = aiding terrorists.

I read his "manifesto" and it didn't look to me that it was an attack of passion or by someone mentally deranged. It was calculated. His references to past events, including Roterham seem to resonate well with the dark side of the internet.

Why on earth did the shooter tell viewers to subscribe to pewdiepie? this is pretty surreal.

From a marketing perspective it seems like the easiest way to leverage yourself into an audience to do all the viral-ness for you. He is like a parasite and PewDiePie, since people debatably say he is alt-right (I don't know anything about him but the more debatable this is the better) and popular, he makes an excellent parasite host.

Pick a popular figure that people claim is [adjacently controversial] in some way, now that popular figure has to talk about you to disavow your crazyness etc, but if they do, your plan has already worked: You've just hijacked his audience into hearing about you. And if the popular figure stays silent to stop this, other people who hate the pop figure will trumpet your name even louder and farther in trying to get the popular figure to say something.

The Verge article linked above has a compelling reason - it is a meme which will resonate in the media coverage, and it also forces PDP to address it publicly, which raises the crime's profile yet further.

Probably calculated to cause even more coverage, as strange as that may seem. Or maybe for the same reason he put the "navy seal copypasta" in his manifesto.

Why is this comment being downvoted?

Look at PewDiePie’s twitter followers. Many are white nationalists.

> Many are white nationalists.

He has ~17 million followers — what is your methodology in determining with such precision the demographic profile of his followers?

I agree with the parent post's assessment, but only using personal experience and relativity (i.e. even a minority of pro-white-nationalism followers may be many multiples the percentage of white nationalist followers for other public figures).

such as?

Are you playing dumb or are willfully ignorant? His follows are public information.

Stefan Molynux and L. Southern, for two among others.

Neither of whom is white nationalist.

There's a long tradition of people yelling slogans before going to war, or assassins yelling the slogan of their cause or religion before murdering. Evidently pewdiepie is someone he was willing to murder for.

Why should this video be taken down?

You can't stop crimes just by deleting the evidence.

I won't speak to censorship, but I will speak to the distribution incentives in social media algorithms.

If these attacks got less free distribution, they might be less likely to occur. Part of the incentive around horrific attacks like this is to get free marketing (aka, earned media) for a cause (as the killer makes clear in his manifesto).

And to add some data, here's my analysis of Islamic terrorism vs. homicide coverage in the NY Times (as you can imagine, the scarier or more horrific the attack, the more distribution it gets in the press):


And comparison of every death type by coverage:


Exactly there is the huge problem that if you look at how humans learn, you will quickly come to the conclusion that 99.9% of human behavior is copying others' behavior.

That means it is very responsible to:

1) partly cloud or obscure methods/reasons for suicice

2) partly cloud or obscure motives for serious crimes

This does NOT mean to lie about the events. Or even make that information to truly not be available. Just hide it ... just a bit so it doesn't pass through everyone's mind who just reads some news.

There have been incidents in the past where news messages lead to copycats in both cases.

The fact of the matter is that crime is not illogical or "evil". Crimes are committed for a specific purpose. Making people realize that "hey you can do this", or making people think about what a crime would accomplish vs what not doing a crime would accomplish will inevitably lead some to conclude the crime is the preferable option, and thus damage others.

Forget social media for a moment -- doesn't the regular media publicize non-stop terrorist attacks, too?


The advice from psycologists to the media about how to cover mass murder in a way to avoid causing to more is basically to minimize their coverage.

They take the psycologist's advice when it comes to covering suicide causing more suicide (see the suicide prevention resources in every suicide article you've ever read), but with mass shootings the media can't help themselves. They (at best) cynically want the exposure and ad revenue, or (at worst) think so highly of their reporting's benefit to society that negative side effects won't happen.

It’s a horrific act against humanity and plastering it everywhere will probably only encourage copy cats. IMO we shouldn’t make the perpetrators famous at all. Don’t put any name on every news channel but refer to them as cowards.

I can think of a few reasons.

Because it’s upsetting to see innocent people get slaughtered.

Because it will be used to radicalize more terrorists.

Because nobody is obligated to host it on their platform.

Because leaving it up won’t stop crimes either.

You can make good counter-arguments to all of those. This isn’t a math problem with 1 answer.

I'd imagine they don't want a video of a massacre on their sites. Pretty far-fetched, I know.

Because it's ok to show some empathy for the victims and their families. Most people don't want to see this stuff either. This is one sort of private censorship I have no problem with.

Because it shows the murder of over 40 people?

And what does your local holocaust museum show?

Not videos of people dying?

EDIT: I'm removing this comment, as I feel it bordered on ad hominem and didn't add anything to the discussion. As you've been downvoted anyway, I don't really think I've anything else to add.

To protect whatever dignity the victims still have left?

I find this the most convincing argument. While I feel there is a moral journalistic right to accurately report crime, I feel there is also a moral right to not have footage of undignified acts committed against you published, whether this be your murder, or even a practical joke.

Taken down and taken off social media aren't the same thing. Nobody's going to be able to kill the magnet links or stop Wikileaks from distributing his twitter history, but if there's any content that shouldn't appear in your YouTube recommendations this is it.

>Why should this video be taken down?...

Same reason links to child rape videos should be taken down, it's disgusting. That's the consensus view. We realize not everyone is going to agree and you can go to Gab or 4chan or 8chan or wherever to see that sort of thing if you like.

This isn't about stopping crimes, it's about not presenting people with something that can be traumatizing.

It's also about stopping the glorification of these heinous acts - you can bet there are people who would find this edifying to watch.


Your comments have been too unsubstantive for this site. Could you please increase the amount of information?


It's not evidence, it's propaganda.

I get and sympathize with what you're saying, but in a literal sense it's obviously both. Obviously it's going to be entered as evidence during the trial.

Yes and no. At the trial, the prosecution is not going to need to pull a fresh copy off of YouTube to present as evidence. That is, yes, it's evidence and will be used as such. No, its continued availability on YouTube is not related to it being evidence.

Of course it should go without saying that a great deal of evidence has no business getting posted publicly on social media.

That ship sailed years ago when Youtube started removing videos of the Syrian civil war [1]. Many of these videos were intended as propaganda for rebel/terrorist groups. They were also useful because the combat footage they contained could be analyzed independently to get casualty counts and locations of fighting. I would personally have preferred that they stayed available, even if they might have worked as propaganda on some people. But Youtube made a decision and stuck to it.

Removing this terrorist's video is just applying a standing policy to remove reported terrorist videos.

[1] For all I know the policy started even earlier, but I followed the SCW closely for several years and I noticed a big change in video availability over time.

It's important to remember that regardless of your stance on censorship and the legality of the content, Facebook and Youtube are generally intended to be safe-for-work platforms.

So are you okay with all the propaganda videos of isis and other such groups being posted on social media. This is the just the opposite side of the same coin.

FWIW, yes, I am.

10 years ago I might have agreed with you but now I feel most humans are too dumb and easily led. Flat earth, anti vaccine, global warming deniers and so much other crap is easily spread and believed. If I owned a platform I would not be happy allowing it to be used to spread this.

Fortunately, nobody is "deleting" the "evidence". It will still be available for trial after Youtube has taken it down.

This is perverse. Since when did we incentivize murder by free broadcast? Seriously the parent is a disgusting comment.

Common decency and respect for the victims and their families?

Because it encourages other people to copy the act

Many consider it a crime to delete evidence of the holocaust. Why would people support deleting the evidence of this atrocity???

Many of the same people consider it to be a crime to create content that glorifies the holocaust.

The evidence won't go away. The point of removing the video is to stop glorifying this atrocity.

There is an inherent conflict of interests when traditional outlets try to make every crisis into a referendum about social media.

And this is one of the top posts on reddit / the_donald: https://www.reddit.com/r/The_Donald/comments/b1czmd/aussie_p...

While that place is vile, I don't see how it's relevant here, unless you specifically go hunting every morning to find whatever bad exists on the other side and gloat that you're better? (in which case you aren't)

1. Which "side" do you think I'm on?

2. What am I gloating about?

I posted this link because reddit is a YC company that makes money hosting a lot of hateful content. If it makes you feel better, I'm sure it does so on all extremes of the spectrum.

It's one of many examples showing how "both sides" are not the same and "both sides" are not equally responsible for events like this. Lots of traditional media outlets and many ordinary people like to believe that comforting lie.

Individual positions are typically located along spectrums in many dimensions. The idea that there are just ‘two sides’ and that an example from one can meaningfully be extrapolated to represent the rest is pretty regressive.

I agree, but the fact remains that this is how the media narrative is structured and how many people operate.

Can you post the content here? I don't want to subsidize these fucks.

It's a post showing the official comment of Australian senator Fraser Anning on the mass shooting, claiming the immigration program is to blame for the mass shooting.

Thank you! I hate bare links with no explanation, especially to that cesspool.

Regardless of whether you believe Youtube FB and Twitter "should be allowed" to remove such videos from their platform, the reality is that some percentage of people will continue to use their computers to host and view these videos.

Whether that is on the clear web or dark web is debatable, but it would be impossible to fully censor any file 100% of the time.

And if it isn't on the internet, it'll be on the sneakernet.

EDIT: I wasn't arguing if it should be removed or not. I was stating my prediction about what I think will happen.

"Regardless of whether asteroids should be allowed to strike the Earth, they will continue to do so"

That argument doesn't work - people will speed, others will get murdered, emails will get leaked, measles will spread, yet we try to limit those all too.

Might as well not pass any laws ever: https://i.imgur.com/YITBt6c.jpg

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