Yesterday, an armed gunman in Halle, Germany attacked people outside of a synagogue on Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, killing two and injuring at least two others in the process. He livestreamed his attack on Twitch, during which he referred to himself as “Anon” (likely referencing 4chan or 8chan) and espoused far-right talking points. Now, the livestream platform has released a statement explaining how such an egregious violation slipped through its net.
On Twitter, Twitch outlined what happened from its perspective, opening with an acknowledgement that while it has a “a zero-tolerance policy against hateful conduct,” the stream nonetheless lasted 35 minutes, was viewed by five people while it was live, and was passed around to 2,200 people in the additional 30 minutes after it ended, before Twitch took it down. The issue, according to Twitch, is that the stream generated most of its heat off-platform.
“This account was created about two months prior to streaming the shooting and had attempted to stream only once before,” said Twitch. “This video was not surfaced in any recommendations or directories; instead, our investigation suggests that people were coordinating and sharing the video via other online messaging services.”
The company has since shared a version of the recording with an “industry consortium” to help stop it from spreading further.
This is not the first time a shooter has livestreamed their acts of violence. Most notoriously, the Christchurch mosque shooter who killed 51 people and injured 49 earlier this year streamed the attack on Facebook Live. Recordings of the shooting were also uploaded to Twitch, which in June prompted the company to sue 100 anonymous users to reveal the identities of those who put the recordings – in addition to pornography, copyrighted videos, and other terms of service violations – on their platform.
As of now, Twitch says it’s “continuing to investigate the Halle event” and will ban any accounts that repost recordings of it.
“We take this extremely seriously and are committed to working with industry peers, law enforcement, and any relevant parties to protect our community,” said the company.