CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 17: People light candles next to flowers and tributes laid by the wall of the Botanic Gardens on March 17, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 people are confirmed dead, with 36 injured still in hospital following shooting attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday, 15 March. 41 of the victims were killed at Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue and seven died at Linwood mosque. Another victim died later in Christchurch hospital. A 28-year-old Australian-born man, Brenton Tarrant, appeared in Christchurch District Court on Saturday charged with murder. The attack is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

What Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can do now to stop terrorism and hate online

Updated 2022 GMT (0422 HKT) March 18, 2019

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Robert L. McKenzie is a director and senior fellow at New America, a nonpartisan think tank, and adjunct assistant professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

Perspectives Robert L. McKenzie

The attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand bring into sharp relief a troubling pattern of global white nationalist terrorism against Muslims. The New Zealand assailant's 87-page manifesto is replete with white supremacist propaganda that was shared across the internet. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are now left scrambling to stop the spread of this hateful rhetoric as it continues to get shared across their platforms.
Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell's recent tweet captures the significant role that the internet played in this attack: "The New Zealand massacre was livestreamed on Facebook, announced on 8chan, reposted on YouTube, commentated about on Reddit, and mirrored around the world before the tech companies could even react."