At least two people were killed on Wednesday in a shooting outside a German synagogue during one of the most important Jewish holidays was live-streamed for 35 minutes on Twitch.
The incident took place just weeks after a broad effort that was announced by tech platforms to curb the spread of violent content.
The gunman posted a video of the attack on the Twitch live stream gaming plaming owned by Amazon, which was later seen by 2,200 people, the company acknowledged.
The video of the shooting at a synagogue and a Turkish restaurant included a “manifesto” with racist and anti-Semitic commentary.
“Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against hateful conduct, and any act of violence is taken extremely seriously,” a Twitch spokesperson said.
“We worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”
The attack marks the latest incident in which a violent act has been live-streamed for the public, raising questions about the responsibility of platforms like Twitch, which is owned by Amazon.
It echoes the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand in March when a shooter killed 50 Muslim worshipers at two mosques. The man streamed his actions on Facebook.
Twitch removed the video of the shooting, but it was live-streamed for 35 minutes to five viewers, the company tweeted later in the day.
Once the video was removed, we shared the hash with an industry consortium to help prevent the proliferation of this content. We take this extremely seriously and are committed to working with industry peers, law enforcement, and any relevant parties to protect our community.
— Twitch (@Twitch) October 9, 2019
On September 23, Facebook announced additional efforts at the United Nations during a meeting with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has taken up the cause of fighting online extremism.
Last month, Amazon had announced that it was joining the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, an alliance tasked with tackling the most dangerous content on social media.
Twitch, which has gained a following for live-streaming gaming, was acquired in 2014 by Amazon for $970 million and has an estimated 15 million daily active users.
It said the account used by the gunman was created “about two months prior to streaming the shooting” and had only been used to attempt to stream once before.
Hans-Jakob Schindler of the Counter Extremism Project, a group seeking to curb online violence, said the latest Livestream highlights a need for stronger actions against social platforms.
“Online platforms need to step up and stop their services being used and in turn, parent companies need to hold them accountable,” Schindler said.