14 Combat hatred with love on the networked platforms - Shaiju Joseph SSP

posted May 16, 2019, 3:19 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated May 16, 2019, 3:19 AM ]

On Friday, March 15, 2019, the world received the shocking news of the mass shooting of innocent people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The young man, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, who gunned down 50 worshippers, including a 3-year-old child, had an agenda—to propagate hatred and fear, and get fame.

This is evident from the planning and execution of this heinous incident. Prior to the firing, he posted a 74-page manifesto of hatred and violence on Twitter. Then he called the attention of the world to himself by opening fire at innocent strangers and live-streamed the bloodshed on Facebook. The live streaming on Facebook was not a spontaneous decision. It was well planned. He went prepared. He wanted to spread his story of hatred to the whole world.

His weapon was not only the semi-automated gun he used. He used the more powerful tool of social media. “I chose firearms for the effect it would have on social discourse, the extra media coverage they would provide, and the effect it could have on the politics of the United States, and thereby the political situation of the world,” he said in his ‘manifesto’. He knew that the carnage would go viral. The clip would be shared by millions of people, and would travel on multiple platforms and devices. In fact, he wanted to use both the networked platforms and us (the users) to share his story of hatred.

The New Zealand government was quick to recognise the intention of the perpetrator and acted swiftly. The government ordered YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to remove the video from their platforms, and to contain the clip from going viral. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacintha Ardern, denied him the fame he wanted, when she said, “You will never hear me mention his name.” She added, “He is a terrorist; he is a criminal; he is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless.”

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