If Then

Facebook Live Gave the New Zealand Shooter a Stage

He filmed the violence like a performance for trolls. Does the platform deserve some of the blame?

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

On today’s show, April Glaser and Will Oremus first talk to two researchers who’ve uncovered new information about the way the U.S. government trains its facial recognition software. According to their findings, the government uses photos of immigrants, children, and even deceased prisoners to train their programs.

Then, NBC News reporter Ben Collins talks about the role of online extremism in last week’s New Zealand attacks, specifically with regard to Facebook and other platforms that allow live broadcasting. Collins also discusses the shooter’s manifesto riddled with white supremacist signals from online communities and the difficulty of reporting on these racist communities without broadening their reach.


Stories discussed on the show:

Slate: “The Government Is Using the Most Vulnerable People to Test Facial Recognition Software

Don’t Close My Tabs:

Will: “Supporting Research on News Deserts” from the Facebook Journalism Project, “Facebook Says Service Hindered by Lack of Local News” from AP News

April: “The Case for Investigating Facebook” from the New York Times

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.

You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State UniversityNew America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.