Stories by Scott Rosenberg

Christchurch shooting video puts platforms on the spot

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The online spread of the Christchurch mosque killer's sickening first-person video divided experts, industry insiders and the broader public into two opposite camps: Some saw the debacle as proof that Facebook and YouTube can't police their platforms. Others saw it as evidence that they won't.

Why it matters: How we define the platforms' struggle to block the New Zealand shooter's video will shape how we respond to the problem. Either way, Facebook and YouTube don't come off well.

New Zealand killings hatched and exploded online

New Zealand police stand outside one of the mosques that was targeted in the shootings
Police outside the Masjid al Noor mosque after the shootings. Photo: Tessa Burrows/AFP/Getty Images

The New Zealand mosque shooter leveraged social media channels to spread both a race-hatred manifesto and a horrifying live video of his killings, throwing a harsh light on online platforms' continuing role in propagating extremist violence.

Why it matters: Facebook, YouTube and the internet itself are inextricably bound up both with how the Christchurch killer seems to have arrived at his extremist views and with how he decided to act on them.

For tech, antitrust is a fatal distraction

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

When leaders in Silicon Valley assess the new antitrust fever among candidates and policymakers, the prospect of corporate breakups isn't their biggest worry. Instead, insiders fear missing the next cycle of industry change if they're distracted and hobbled by antitrust conflicts.

Why it matters: If executives are busy answering lawmaker inquiries and defending regulator lawsuits, they're less likely to be protecting their businesses from upstart challengers. And if they're under constant regulatory scrutiny, they'll be less able to either elbow aside or snatch up the competition.

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