Ready to be sickened? A gunman in Germany today opened fire on a crowd of worshippers in a synagogue — and worse, he livestreamed the whole thing on Twitch.
The attack took place at a synagogue and kebab shop in Halle. It seems fairly obvious why the attack took place today: it’s Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism. The shooter apparently streamed the whole thing using a camera mounted to his head. According to official reports, at least two people were killed, but the shooter was unsuccessful in breaking into the synagogue.
The shooter went on a barely-understandable rant during the livestream, the hateful content of which included invectives against feminism and a denial of the Holocaust. A spokesperson for the German authorities confirmed to Vice the video footage was of the shooting and that the man in it was the suspect in custody.
Amazon, which owns Twitch, confirmed to CNBC that the shooter’s attack was livestreamed on Twitch. While we don’t know the shooter’s channel name, Twitch later said on Twitter it was created two months before the shooting. About five people watched the broadcast while it was live, and the video automatically generated after the stream ended was viewed by 2,200 people in the 30 minutes it took Twitch to discover and remove it. Twitch also said it’s working with outside agencies to attempt to keep the vid of the attack from spreading:
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
There’s not much to celebrate here, but I will say this: one hour’s a pretty sharp takedown time for a company with as many live broadcasts to monitor as Twitch does. I’d have preferred it never happened at all, but under the circumstances I’m glad it was scrubbed as quickly as it was.
That said, the video was still widely circulated via the medium of Telegram. Researcher Megan Squire tweeted that clips of the shooting were viewed by over 15,000 Telegram accounts. No matter how hard Amazon and Twitch try, it’s going to be a battle against a hydra to keep this video from popping up online.
Many would say something like this was only a matter of time — myself included. Facebook has already been the site of numerous terrible things on livestream, the most terrible of which probably being the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand. Twitch being as popular as it is, there was probably some kind of terrible cosmic clock counting down the time until someone streamed something truly horrific there.