LONDON (AP) — Twitter, Facebook parent Meta and other social media companies scrambled Friday to police videos on their platforms of the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that break rules on harmful content.
Multiple videos of the attack by a gunman who fired a homemade, double-barreled weapon twice at Abe circulated on social media. Some only show the moments before and after the attack while others showed both shots.
Abe, who stepped down in 2020, was shot moments into a speech, airlifted to hospital, and later pronounced dead. Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene.
Twitter said its enforcement teams were working to “address harmful content” relating to the attack by “proactively removing” material that violates its rules, which include restrictions on sensitive media including graphic violence.
Twitter urged users to flag up any potentially sensitive material of the attack so it can take action. Videos of the attack could still be found easily on Twitter many hours after the attack.
Meta said it was deleting videos depicting the moment of the attack and had disabled the suspect’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked at the passing of the former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe,” Meta said in a prepared statement.
“We do not and will not tolerate any violent behavior on our platform. To keep our platform a safe place to connect, we are working to remove any violating content related to the incident,” it said.
Meta said it took action under its policy on dangerous individuals, and that it’s labeling still photos of the attack as “disturbing.”
YouTube said its systems are giving prominence to videos related to the attack from “authoritative sources” such as news organizations, the video sharing site said, adding that it will remove any content that breaks its rules, which include a ban on violent or graphic content.
TikTok said it’s working to rapidly “identify content, accounts and hashtags related to this tragic incident” and removing any content and accounts that violates its rules.