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New Zealand privacy commissioner brands Facebook as "morally bankrupt"

John Edwards calls out Facebook CEO for dismissal of live stream time delays over hateful content

New Zealand's privacy commissioner has called out Mark Zuckerberg after the Facebook CEO dismissed the idea of using a time delay on hateful content that's live streamed. 

John Edwards initially used his personal Twitter account to lambast the embattled social network over its responses to removing hateful content, online abuse and live streams of rapes, suicides and murders, according to The Guardian.

"Facebook cannot be trusted," Edwards tweeted. "They are morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar), facilitate foreign undermining of democratic institutions.

"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."

The tweets were a response to an interview Mark Zuckerberg gave to George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, but have since been deleted due to "the volume of toxic and misinformed traffic they prompted", according to Edwards.

Zuckerberg was pushed on the subjected of the removing online streams of hateful content - particularly last months mass shooting at a Mosque in New Zealand. The Facebook CEO explained that the live video had been seen "about 200 times" while it was live but that most of those were from different online communities away from Facebook. Most of these views, he said, were people simply copying the video to upload it multiple times.

Seemingly, the big takeaway for Zuckerberg was that his company needed to improve its systems to identify live stream terror events more quickly as they happen. Stephanopoulos offered up the simple solution of a "time delay", using the seven-second delays that live TV shows often use as an example, but Zuckerberg said that would ruin streaming for everyone.

"You know, it might, in this case. But it would also fundamentally break what live streaming is for people. Most people are live streaming, you know, a birthday party or hanging out with friends when they can't be together. And it's one of the things that's magical about live streaming is that it's bi-directional, right? So you're not just broadcasting. You're communicating. And people are commenting back. So if you had a delay that would break that," said Zuckerberg. 

Despite removing his tweets, Edwards was still keen to keep the discussion going, appearing on RNZ radio, where he expanded on his criticism of Zuckerberg's interview.

"I found his comments pretty disingenuous," he said. "Maybe a delay on live streams would be a good thing, as an interim measure until they can sort out their AI. Maybe they just need to turn it off altogether, it is a technology that is capable of causing great harm.

"He can't actually tell us, or won't tell us, how many suicides are live streamed, how many murders, how many sexual assaults, in fact, I've asked Facebook exactly that, last week, and they simply don't have those figures or won't give them to us.

"It's a hard problem to crack. The legal protection they have, to launch an unsafe product and escape any liability, is the communications decency act in the US, which says that if you are a platform carrier you have no liability for the content."

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