Technology and hate

Some 50 Muslims were slain in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday as they gathered to pray at two mosques.

The accused killer is an avowed white supremacist who streamed the massacre live on social media. The shooter apparently wore a body camera to record the atrocity.

What is most disturbing about this piece of the attack is that social media companies were overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the audience that reposted the video — or parts of it — on a variety of platforms.

“This was a tragedy that was almost designed for the purpose of going viral,” Neal Mohan, chief product officer at YouTube told The Washington Post. “We’ve made progress, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of work ahead of us, and this incident has shown that, especially in the case of more viral videos like this one, there’s more work to be done.”

In all, attempts were made to upload the shootings at least 1.5 million times to Facebook alone. It is estimated that at least 300,000 copies of the video were successfully uploaded.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that all sorts of hate groups are identifying supporters through social media sites. It apparently doesn’t matter if a particular brand of hatred is based on race, religion or extreme politics — like-minded individuals can be found haunting the back hallways of the internet.

The very scary part of Friday’s tragedy is that there may be millions of people in the world who share the Christchurch shooter’s brand of hatred. It makes one wonder how many millions share some form of absolute hatred for their fellow man.

We’re not sure what the solution is to this weaponization of the World Wide Web by hate groups. The problem needs to be addressed by the global community. Friday’s massacre could have happened anywhere. The shooter may have been a “lone wolf,” but it is easy to see his biases — his hatred — were reinforced by a large community.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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