Google AI Has Trouble Keeping NZ Massacre Video Off YouTube

The mosque killings in New Zealand early Friday were broadcast live on social media, and the video has since been deleted more than several 1,000 times. But the sharpest minds and algorithms at Google haven’t completely filtered it from the internet, because the same video keeps popping up elsewhere.

When the deadly shooting began its live stream on Facebook, local police alerted Facebook, which quickly removed the video. But Bloomberg reported that the video was captured, recorded and redistributed through channels around the globe.

Google reportedly said it had already deleted the video by the thousands on Friday, and that it was “working vigilantly to remove any violent footage.”

Henry Farid is a computer scientist at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Information who works to eliminate illegal or extremists videos as part of the Counter Extremism Project. He said content can’t be “eliminated at the point of upload.”

"Once content has been determined to be illegal, extremist or a violation of their terms of service, there is absolutely no reason why, within a relatively short period of time, this content can’t be eliminated automatically at the point of upload," Farid said on Bloomberg. "We’ve had the technology to do this for years."

The problem, though, isn’t stopping just a few people from continually uploading the New Zealand massacre over and again. It’s numerous people believed to keep rebroadcasting the video.

Social media executives have been before the U.S. Congress many times to address the topic of how to stop extremist and violent videos from widespread distribution on YouTube, which has more people on the problem and flashy, new algorithms designed to help stop the flow. Google’s AI is also known as one of the best at stopping the spread of violent, extremist and illegal videos.

But the video of the New Zealand massacre keeps showing up—thousands of times even after they thought it was gone. The questions are how and why?

Pex chief executive officer Rasty Turek, whose company builds similar technology to YouTube’s Content ID, said users around the world have found ways to trick computers, algorithms and the smartest computer gurus.

“There are so many ways to trick computers,” Turek said. “It’s a whack-a-mole.”

Then there’s the problem of live-streaming. As the video is happening and a constant feed is uploading, the video hasn’t been on long enough to be analyzed and deemed extremists or violent, the report states. This slows things down to the level of humans, and not the super-warp speed of the worldwide web.

“Live stream slows this down to a human level,” Turek said.

This includes users uploading videos a few seconds at a time, which allows the video to skirt around some of YouTube’s analysis and algorithms.

The mosques shootings in New Zealand resulted in the 49 deaths and 42 more injured, many who remain in critical condition.

This report indicates several people have been arrested in connection with the massacre, which has reportedly been months, if not years, in the making.

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