Mark Zuckerberg Defends Facebook Livestreaming After New Zealand Massacre

Facebook founder tells “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos why he’s resistant to adding automatic delays on livestreams

Last Updated: April 4, 2019 @ 6:43 AM

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg defended the company’s livestreaming service, despite its recent prominent use in the shooting massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, which left 50 dead last month.

“Most people are livestreaming, you know, a birthday party or hanging out with friends when they can’t be together. One of the things that’s magical about livestreaming is that it’s bi-directional, right?” Zuckerberg told “Good Morning America’s” George Stephanopoulos on Thursday. “So you’re not just broadcasting. You’re communicating. And people are commenting back. So if you had a delay that would break that.”

During his interview with Stephanopoulos, Zuckerberg said he was disinclined to implement measures like a livestream “delay” for fear of “fundamentally” altering the service.

“It would also fundamentally break what livestreaming is for people,” he said, though he did admit that in the case of the New Zealand massacre, a delay may have helped stop the spread of the shooting video.

Zuckerberg and Facebook came in for significant criticism in the aftermath of the New Zealand violence, which the shooter recorded in real time on Facebook Live. The video then whipped around Facebook for hours before company executives were able to scrub it totally from their platform. A similar problem also bedeviled Twitter and YouTube.

Tech companies “have a content-moderation problem that is fundamentally beyond the scale that they know how to deal with,” Becca Lewis, a Stanford University researcher told the Washington Post. “The financial incentives are in play to keep content first and monetization first.”

In his interview with Stephanopoulos, Zuckerberg also addressed the issue of Russian interference, saying that while he had no doubt Putin would try to play around with the 2020 elections, there was no individual mechanism in place to stop it.

“Our job is to make the defenses stronger and stronger, to make it harder for them to do what they’re doing and to build the right partnerships with other folks in the industry and in the intelligence community,” Zuckerberg said. “But the reality is that there’s not a single thing that we can do and say, ‘All right. We put this in place. So now they can’t even try to interfere.’ They’re always going to try.”

You can read a full transcript of the interview here.