In the wake of a hate-fueled mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, major web platforms have scrambled to take down a 17-minute video of the attack. Sites like YouTube have applied imperfect technical solutions, trying to draw a line between newsworthy and unacceptable uses of the footage. But Facebook, Google, and Twitter aren’t the only places weighing how to handle violent extremism. And traditional moderation doesn’t affect the smaller sites where people are still either promoting the video or praising the shooter. In some ways, these sites pose a tougher problem — and their fate cuts much closer to fundamental questions about how to police the web. After all, for years, people have lauded the internet’s ability to connect people, share information, and route around censorship. With the Christchurch shooting, we’re seeing that phenomenon at its darkest. The Christchurch shooter streamed video live on Facebook and posted it on other platforms, but his central hub was apparently 8chan, the image board community whose members frequently promote far-right extremism. 8chan had already been booted from Google’s Search listings and kicked off at at least one hosting service over problems with child pornography. (8chan’s owner claims the site “vigorously” deletes child porn.) After the shooting, some users posted comments speculating that the site would be taken down. Forbes later raised the question of somehow shuttering 8chan, and in New Zealand, internet service providers actually did block it and a handful of other sites. The past couple of years have seen a wave… [Read full story]
The Verge is an ambitious multimedia effort founded in 2011 to examine how technology will change life in the future for a massive mainstream audience.
Our original editorial insight was that technology had migrated from the far fringes of the culture to the absolute center as mobile technology created a new generation of digital consumers. Now, we live in a dazzling world of screens that has ushered in revolutions in media, transportation, and science. The future is arriving faster than ever.