A terrorist attack conceived and designed to go viral in Christchurch New Zealand on Friday was captured in part in a horrifying 17-minute helmet cam video that was broadcast live on Facebook, and continues to proliferate online.
The attacks took place at the Al Noor Mosque in the center of the city and at Linwood Mosque about three miles away. The majority of the 49 people killed were found at Al Noor Mosque, 41 in total, with seven more found at the second mosque, and one other who died at a local hospital. Dozens of others, including young children, are being treated for gunshot wounds, as the New York Times reports.
The gunman, who identified himself as a 28-year-old Australian but has not been publicly identified by New Zealand authorities, speaks in the video and in an accompanying 74-page manifesto in the coded language of memes and alt-right trolls. Espousing white nationalist ideals, the man talks of wanting to incite greater discord around the 2nd Amendment debate in the United States, and of wanting to stir anger worldwide. He also speaks in praise of Donald Trump.
In the manifesto, he writes, "“For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist."
The manifesto was posted to Twitter and the alt-right forum 8chan. As HuffPo notes, "The author at times wrote in an over-the-top, possibly sarcastic voice, making specific passages difficult to discern, but an obsession with white supremacist ideas persists throughout the manifesto."
Four people have been arrested, three men and one woman, including the alleged gunman.
The guns the perpetrator carried were all inscribed, apparently with white paint, with the names of previous mass shooters, fascist leaders, and historic figures connected to wars on Muslims.
Facebook, which has said that it is often able to detect and remove hate speech these days using machine learning, issued a statement saying it is "removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware."
Among the memes and popular internet references the gunman included in the course of the video — some of which is just of him driving to his intended target — he says "subscribe to PewDiePie," referring to the popular YouTube creator Felix Kjellberg, who himself has drawn praise from the alt-right for making off-handedly racist and anti-Semitic remarks. Kjellberg posted to Twitter, saying he was sickened to be connected with this individual.
As CBS SF reports, copies of the gunman's video continued proliferating on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter "hours after the attack."
Per the NYT:
While Facebook and Twitter took down pages thought to be linked to the gunman, the posted content was spread rapidly through other accounts.
In order to evade detection, people appeared to be cropping the video or posting the text of the manifesto as an image — both of which are techniques used to evade automated systems that find and delete content.
President Trump took to Twitter this morning to condemn the attack.
To which Mia Farrow responded...