PARIS – A leading French Muslim group said on Monday it was suing Facebook and YouTube, accusing them of inciting violence by allowing the streaming of footage of the Christchurch massacre on their platforms, Reuters reported.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) accused both companies of inciting hate by allowing material that encouraged terrorism and harmed the dignity of human beings.
Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 50 Muslim worshippers in Friday’s attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
The attack was live-streamed on Facebook for 17 minutes and then copied and shared on social media sites across the internet. Facebook said it raced to remove hundreds of thousands of copies.
In France, such acts can be punished by three years’ imprisonment and a 75,000 euro ($85,000) fine.
Abdallah Zekri, president of the CFCM’s Islamophobia monitoring unit, said the organization had launched a formal legal complaint against Facebook and YouTube in France.
“They [Facebook] have failed big time, this was a person who was looking for an audience and … you were the platform he chose to advertise himself and his heinous crime,” said Anwar Ghani, spokesman for the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ).
Ghani said his organization had been planning to contact Facebook to register their complaint but had been busy dealing with the aftermath of the attacks.
“We haven’t been in touch with the (French) group … but certainly, something which can deter the social media space in terms of these types of crimes, we would be supportive of that,” he said.
A US congressional panel last week called on top executives from Facebook and YouTube, as well as Microsoft and Twitter, to explain the online proliferation of the “horrific” New Zealand video.
The panel, the House Committee on Homeland Security, said it was “critically important” to filter the kind of violent images seen in the video.