Facebook won't put delays on livestreams - Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed the social media giant won't make any changes to its livestreaming platform.

Last month, the alleged Christchurch gunman used the service to broadcast the murder of dozens of people in Christchurch.

It's estimated a couple of hundred people watched it, but no one alerted Facebook or the police until well after it was finished.

Zuckerberg said on Friday (NZ time) while putting a delay on livestreams might have stopped as many people watching it live, the company - which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp - won't be changing a thing.

"It would fundamentally break what livestreaming is for people," he told ABC's Good Morning America.

"Most people are livestreaming, you know, a birthday party or hanging out with friends when they can't be together. It's one of the things that's magical about livestreaming is that it's bi-directional, right? So you're not just broadcasting. You're communicating. And people are commenting back. So if you had a delay, that would break that."

Delays are common in professional broadcasting, particularly if sensitive issues are being discussed. By delaying the broadcast by a few seconds, it gives bosses a chance to pull the plug in case standards are breached or laws broken, for example if an interview subject breaks a suppression order.

Mark Zuckerberg on Good Morning America.
Mark Zuckerberg on Good Morning America. Photo credit: ABC

Facebook has been under intense pressure from New Zealand authorities since the March 15 massacre, which left 50 dead. Not just for letting the killer livestream the atrocity, but its lack of response in the days that followed.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards said Facebook's silence was "an insult to our grief", arguing the victims' rights to privacy had been breached.

"It would be very difficult for you and your colleagues to overestimate the growing frustration and anger here at Facebook's facilitation of, and inability to mitigate, the deep, deep pain and harm from the live-streamed massacre of our colleagues, family members and countrymen broadcast over your network," he wrote in an email to Facebook.

It wasn't until two weeks after the attacks that one of the site's leadership team, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, commented on the site's role in broadcasting the attack and spreading hatred.

Sandberg said Facebook was considering making changes to its livestream service, such as blocking those who have previously broken the site's ill-defined community standards from using it. The site has also promised to crack down on white separatist and nationalist content.

Last week in an article for the Washington Post that didn't mention Christchurch at all, Zuckerberg called for more regulation and government intervention on social media, so individual private companies weren't making "so many important decisions about speech on our own".

Newshub.

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