Tech expert calls for law change to pressure social media giants

Publish Date
Tuesday, 19 March 2019, 11:05p.m.

A tech expert claims Facebook has the technology to better remove online videos of the Christchurch terror attack.

Social media sites are racing to remove the footage, with Facebook removing 1.5 million videos in the first 24 hours.

But, there are reports links and copies of the video are still widely available.

University of Otago Artificial Intelligence and law expert Doctor Alistair Knott told Larry Williams that it is a huge challenge for them to manage all this content.

However, he says they have some of the most advanced technology in the world for processing content.

"They do a lot of this already, but it's just that there imperatives are mostly commercial at the moment, doing work for instance for advertisers, to make sure they aren't screening in front of nasty pieces of content."

Knott says there would be issues if they were to monitor content that was being livestreamed as it was being uploaded, but that it is not impossible and the benefits would outway the negatives.

"It wouldn't be perfect, but they would do a better job by deploying more resources, and the only thing preventing them from doing that is it's not in their bottom line." 

He says the only way to force them to do this would be through law change. 

In Germany, tech companies are forced to monitor content for hate speech or face massive fines.  

Knott says that as a consequence of this, the tech giants hired more human "scrutinisers". 

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