Internet platforms appear to be divided on whether to pull footage of Shinzo Abe’s assassination
Social media sites and video platforms debate whether or not to pull videos depicting the assassination of Japan’s former Prhyme Minsist Shinzo Abe.
Facebook and Twitter stepped in hours after Abe’s death on Friday and said they would remove videos showingng the assassination, which they claim violates company rules. The takedowns highlight an inherent tension in moderating content at social media companies: Although videos of assassinations are graphic in nature, some internet platforms have still traditionally chosen to allow videos depicting assassinations and other acts of political violence involving well-known figures in part because of their timeliness. .
In a statement sent to Gizmodo, a Twitter spokesperson said on Friday the company was “proactively removing” assassination videos, which show a man shooting what appears to be a gun twice in Abe’s chest. homemade double-barreled hunting rifle. Twitter says it has officially removed the offending videos because they violate the company’s restrictions on graphic violence. Twitter’s spokesperson told Gizmodo that it organizes helpful tweets about the attack from relevant authorities and media organizations and said that it encourages people to report media outlets in tweets that they believe are should be treated as “sensitive”.
Meta, on the other hand, in a statement sent to ABC News, cited its Dangerous Individuals Policy as the reason for the removal of its videos. Meta also said it disabled an account allegedly linked to the alleged shooter.
“We do not and will not tolerate violent behavior on our platform,” Meta told ABC News. “To ensure our platform remains a safe place to connect, we are working to remove any non-compliant content related to the incident.”
Meta did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
As of this writing, Gizmodo was still able to find videos of the event on YouTube, but selecting multiple videos triggered a warning that “The following content has been identified by the Youtube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences”. At least as of now, YouTube seems to be taking a slightly different approach to Facebook and Twitter. Gizmodo reached out to YouTube and video streaming platform Twitch to clarify its strategy around videos, but we haven’t heard back.
Abe, who served as Japan’s prime minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020, was shot in the back on Friday while delivering a speech in the city of Nara. The shooter would have fired two shots with the DIY firearm from a distance of about 10 feet. In the video, the supposed shotgun looks more like a bundle of pipes held together with duct tape. The suspect, a 41-year-old ex-Japanese Navy member, reportedly told police he wanted to kill Abe because he believed he had ties to “a certain group”. according Bloomberg.
Guns are extremely rare in Japan, which makes the method of attack all the more surprising. To put that in Looking ahead, Japan has seen just 14 gun-related deaths since 2017, and just one for all of 2021, according to the New York Times.
While videos depicting Abe’s death violate the written rules of most major internet platforms, those same sites tend to allow more leeway for historical political assassinations. For example, Gizmodo was able to find videos depicting the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. on Facebook Watch and YouTube. Nor is the leeway limited to decades of footage. Gizmodo was able to view images illustrating the relatively more graphic images 2016 assassination of Andrei Karlov, the former Russian ambassador to Turkey, also on both platforms.