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Helen Clark says hate speech online should have been picked up by social media platforms

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark says she would expect for social media platforms to have picked up the hate speech being spewed online by those responsible for the Christchurch terror attacks.

The former Prime Minister told Breakfast from Azerbaijan that “everyone is in grief and shock”.

“That remoteness has led us to feel a certain immunity to it (terrorism), that feeling has been completely shattered.”

Ms Clark said social media platforms had been slow to respond to hate speech.

“If this man or these men were active on social media with hate speech, one would frankly expect that to be picked up, not only by our own services but frankly also by social media platforms,” she said.

“Social media platforms have been very slow to respond in closing down hate speech and accounts, how much was this man active in the two years leading up to it that we’re told he was planning it?”

“I do find it odd that he could post his messages alerting people to his manifesto signalling that he was about to do so, something horrible, this not to be picked up.”

"Then he was live streaming for it what, 17 minutes? Facebook doesn’t close that down, I mean what is going on here.”

“I think this will add to all the calls around the world for more effective regulations of social media platforms.”

“From their performance to date, self-regulation isn’t cutting it.”

Ms Clark also wanted New Zealand’s gun laws to be tightened.

“I think people (around the world) will look to see if we act on our gun laws, personally I would like to see them tightened and I would hope parliament would put aside its normal argy-bargy and address that really quite urgently.”

“You’re supposed to be a person of fit and proper character to be able to own a gun, how come these people had so many guns, we have a lot of questions to ask."


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Former Prime Minister Helen Clark spoke to Breakfast this morning. Source: Breakfast