What just happened? Not for the first time, a shooting has been livestreamed on the internet. On this occasion, an attack that took place outside of a synagogue in Halle, Germany, was broadcast on Twitch.
The shooter used a head-mounted camera to record the attack, in which two people were killed. Twitch owner Amazon confirmed to CNBC that the shooter livestreamed the 35-minute video to the service, and while only about five people watched the stream live, around 2,200 people viewed it in the 30 minutes before Twitch discovered and deleted the clip.
We’re continuing to investigate the Halle event and would like to share what we’ve uncovered. The account owner streamed this horrific act live on Twitch for 35 minutes, during which time it was viewed by approximately five people.— Twitch (@Twitch) 9 October 2019
“We are shocked and saddened by the tragedy that took place in Germany today, and our deepest condolences go out to all those affected,” said a spokesperson. “Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against hateful conduct, and any act of violence is taken extremely seriously. We are working with urgency to remove this content and permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act.”
In the video, the man unsuccessfully attempts to break into the synagogue. He also gives a speech to the camera, targeting Jews and denying the Holocaust took place. While only one perpetrator appears in the video, German police haven’t ruled out the possibility that multiple attackers were involved.
The account was created around two months prior to the shooting and had attempted to stream only once before. The video was not surfaced in any recommendations or directories.
While the number of people who watched on Twitch was limited, researcher Megan Squire tweeted that it was viewed by 15,600 Telegram accounts.
Twitch said it shared the video’s hash with an "industry consortium" to stop its spread, though it’s possible to modify the video to prevent it from being identified.
The incident isn't the first such attack to be livestreamed. Back in March, a shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, was streamed on Facebook and reuploaded 1.5 million times.