Following the Christchurch shooting last week, internet service providers in New Zealand are blocking access to websites that do not respond or refuse to comply to requests to remove reuploads of the shooter’s original live stream.
According to Bleeping Computer, sites like 4chan, 8chan, LiveLeak, and the file-sharing site Mega have all been pulled by ISPs like Vodafone, Spark, and Vocus. The ISPs appear to be blocking access at the DNS level to sites that do not respond to the takedown requests, but it’s unclear how effective the blocks will be. Like most web-level blocks, the restrictions are easy to circumvent through the use of a VPN or alternative DNS settings.
Meera Kaushik, external communications adviser for Vodaphone in New Zealand, told Bleeping Computer, “Where material is identified, the site is temporarily blocked and the site is notified, requesting they remove the material.”
Websites like Facebook and YouTube don’t appear to have been taken down by the ISPs, but reuploads of the shooter’s video are still circulating on those platforms. Over the weekend, Facebook said that it had removed over 1.5 million videos of the attack. YouTube said it had removed an “unprecedented volume” of videos of the shooting.
Companies are facing new questions on content moderation following the New Zealand attack. The shooter posted a link to the live stream, and soon after he was apprehended, reuploads were found on other platforms like YouTube and Twitter.
Other broadcasters and platforms like Sky New Zealand and Valve have been removing content surrounding the tragedy as well. After Sky News Australia aired clips from the shooter’s video, Sky New Zealand took its sister broadcaster off the air. Valve has removed over 100 tributes to the shooter from the profiles of Steam users.