Representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube said they have suspended the accounts of a suspected gunman and are working to remove all versions of a video of the shooting from their platforms.
Mia Garlick, a spokesperson for Facebook New Zealand, said in a statement that police alerted the company to the video that the gunman appears to have live-streamed of the shooting soon after the incident began.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this horrendous act. New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we removed both the shooter’s Facebook account and the video.”
Garlick added that they are also working to remove “any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters.”
A spokesperson for YouTube said in a statement, “Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and is removed as soon as we become aware of it.”
Twitter also said it had taken down the account of the suspected gunman and was working to remove all versions of the video.
Facebook also said they had taken down the suspected shooter’s Instagram account.
—Stephanie K. Baer and Ryan Mac
Police have also confirmed the lock down of schools throughout Christchurch has been lifted
“We would like to reassure members of the public that there is a large police presence in the city and the safety of the community is our priority,” New Zealand police said in a statement.
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed four people — three men and one woman — are in custody
Police had found a number of improvised explosive devices strapped to vehicles, and these have now been secured by the defence force, Bush said.
He did not comment on a possible motive, or confirm the shootings were being treated as terrorist attacks.
“We’re looking at the circumstances that surround that. It doesn’t get any more serious,” Bush said.
He said police are not assuming the situation is isolated to Christchurch.
“I’m just deeply, deeply saddened that this would happen in New Zealand,” said New Zealand rugby player Sonny Bill Williams
My heart is hurting about the news coming out of Christchurch. Sending love & prayers to the effected families❤️😢 pic.twitter.com/7PX9wc56b8
— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) March 15, 2019