Theresa May calls on social media firms to take down Christchurch mosque attack video

Posted On: 
15th March 2019

Theresa May has urged social media sites to remove all footage and "propaganda" connected to the gunman who carried out the Christchurch terror attack.

Police on a road in Christchurch, New Zealand
PA Images

Forty-nine people were killed and more than 20 others are seriously injured after at least one attacker opened fire on worshipers at two mosques in the New Zealand city.

A suspect livestreamed the attack on social media, with footage subsequently spreading across a host of platforms.

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The alleged attacker also posted a 74-page manifesto outlining his far-right beliefs, which was published by several news sites.

Facebook has since removed the video and deleted the suspect's account.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: “Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other providers have taken action to remove the video and other propaganda related to the attack.

“We are clear that all companies need to act more quickly to remove all terrorist content.

“There should be no safe spaces for terrorists to promote and share their extreme views.”

The call comes hours after Mrs May condemned the attack as a "sickening act of violence", while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn branded it "horrific".





A man in his late twenties has since been charged with murder and will appear in court on Saturday morning, police confirmed.

Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson, who has called for tougher laws to force social media sites to take down extreme content, also criticised firms’ for an “utter abdication of responsibility” in this case.

“Hours on, videos are still viewable across multiple platforms, and even some mainstream news sites, despite videos being flagged for their horrendous content,” he said.

“Even worse, some videos that have been flagged by viewers have had ‘inappropriate’ warnings added, rather than being taken down immediately. Any responsible platform would take down first and review later.

“The failure to deal with this swiftly and decisively represents an utter abdication of responsibility by social media companies. This has happened too many times. Failing to take these videos down immediately and prevent others being uploaded is a failure of decency.

Mr Watson confirmed that he would be writing to ministers and major companies in a bid to up the pressure on them to act.

He added: “I will also be speaking to my Conservative counterparts in government to discuss how we can act together in order to deal with the unaccountable wickedness of the Silicon Valley oligarchs.”


Elsewhere Security Minister Ben Wallace said that he and Home Secretary Sajid Javid would later speak to UK security officials to discuss how British mosques can be better protected in light of the attack.

"The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with New Zealand against terrorism and we will not falter in our commitment to up-hold the values of tolerance, religious freedom and democracy that we both hold so dear," he said in a statement.

“No-one should be in any doubt that our police and security services treat all threats the same and all terrorists the same no matter what communities, religion or background they come from.

“A terrorist is a terrorist and we shall deal with them exactly the same.”