On Wednesday, two people were killed in a shooting rampage near a synagogue in eastern Germany. The shooting took place on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish religious calendar. A 35-minute video of the attack, filmed by the gunman, was posted on Twitch, a popular online video game streaming platform owned by Amazon.
The shooting took place near a synagogue in a town called Halle in Eastern Germany. According to a spokesman for the German Federal Prosecutor (GFP), a 27-year-old male “Stephan B.” has been arrested as the primary suspect.
A GFP representative told CNN the attack appears to have been motivated by “extreme far-right and anti-Semitic” views. The suspected gunman can be heard speaking in a brief anti-Semitic rant in the video, claiming the Holocaust “never happened” and saying Jewish people are the root of some of the world’s problems.
This may have been the first violent attack to be streamed on Twitch, a platform which has quickly increased in popularity over the past few years. It has been a big part of the “esports” industry, also known as competitive online gaming. Twitch has more than 100 million monthly users to date.
According to the Associated Press, Twitch representatives reported they found and took down the video with “urgency,” and were “shocked and saddened by the tragedy.” The 35-minute video includes footage of both deaths. Twitch said only five people saw the live stream, but 2,200 viewed the recorded video afterward until Twitch took it down thirty minutes after its posting. Copies of the video can be found elsewhere on the internet.
This is not the first live-streamed attack. The shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand in March live-streamed the tragedy on Facebook, prompting the social network to work to restrict users with previous rules violations from using Facebook Live. The network is also working to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to detect violent videos and remove them more quickly.
Though internet companies like Facebook and Twitch have promised to work on preventing these violent live-streams from happening again, it’s hard to restrict content on the internet. Content can spread quickly, saved and shared on other sites. “Companies definitely need better legal incentives to police their platforms from abuse,” Consumer Reports director Justin Brookman told the Associated Press.