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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

French police killer live streamed part of attack prompting...

When two French police officials were murdered in their own home, part of the attack was streamed live on Facebook by their killer, raising questions about the role and responsibilities of social media.

Earlier this week a convicted radical killed a French police couple in an Islamic State group-inspired stabbing, and levelled further threats of violence across the country.

The killer, Larossi Abballa, then posted on Facebook a live 13-minute video of himself with the couple's three-year-old son who he had hostage. During the video he also admitted to the murders and urged fellow jihadists to carry out more bloodshed.

The role of Facebook's live video feature in this crime has sparked conversation about the responsibilities of social media platforms, especially as more tap into live technology.

Professor of Global Islamic Politics at Deakin University and prominent counter terrorism researcher, Professor Greg Barton, told PM "social connectivity is everything, very few people are actually alone."

"Even people who act alone, so called 'lone wolves' are very conscious of a virtual audience and they're at pains to make their affiliations and they set out an attack.''

Live streaming another tool for Islamic State recruitment

Facebook Live is a relatively new feature, allowing video to be streamed in real time and YouTube is also entering into live technology.

The social platform Periscope has encountered several issues with its live capabilities after one user streamed a rape and another showed her own suicide.

Now, it seems would-be terrorists have realised its potential.

Professor Baton said technology has come a long way since the so-called Islamic State first made its call to arms, encouraging people to upload vision of their attacks, in exchange for recognition.

"Today's apps make it easier to do that with live streaming," he said.

''That doesn't necessarily change the risk, but it does certainly add to the incentive because it lowers the threshold.

"I guess that's the importance here, lowering the threshold to make it easier for things, accelerating the rate at which things move along. It helps with recruitment but I think we might come to understand it also comes to help with people executing attacks because there's less to hold them back in going forth and trying something.

"They're assured that whatever they do and at whatever point they're stopped, they'll get credit because it goes out online immediately.

"And when it comes to modern day terror offences, notoriety accounts for a lot ... and for groups like Islamic State, any publicity is good publicity."

'We work hard to strike the right balance': Facebook

Facebook has issued a statement saying it is working with French authorities and recognises the challenges associated with live streaming.

In part, the statement reads; "It's a serious responsibility, and we work hard to strike the right balance between enabling expression while providing a safe and respectful experience."

Professor Barton believes social media platforms could introduce filters to block content like what was seen during Abballa's attack.

But he warns for that to work effectively, it would cause significant disruptions to the technology and would also most likely block legitimate material from being posted.

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