How To Block Autoplaying Videos Of The New Zealand Mosque Shootings

by Lia Beck

On March 15, a terror attack on two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques left 49 people dead and many more wounded. As reported by the BBC, it is unclear at this point how many people were involved in the attack, but one gunman live-streamed the attack from a head-mounted camera, which led to the footage being shared online. If you want to block autoplaying videos of the New Zealand mosque shootings that are circulating online, there are measures you can take on your internet browser.

Three major social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have all removed the original video and made statements about measures being taken to prevent its spread, but according to CNBC, people have still reported coming across the videos online. For those who would like to take matters into their own hands, it is possible to block content containing certain keywords from showing up while you are online and it is also possible to stop videos from auto-playing.

The Google Chrome extension Sadblock "hides certain types of posts from social media while you browse." As its website explains, "Current categories include sad stories, political posts, climate change posts, and those that include common trigger words." It's not perfect, so read up on it before use, but it could be helpful in this case.

There are also keyword blocking extensions that can be used on your browser and involve entering in your own set of keywords for which you would not like to see results. Again, these services have differing success rates.

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You can also stop videos from auto-playing or stop videos altogether on certain browsers. The instructions for how to try out both of these options on Safari on a Mac can be found here. Consumer Reports explains how to change video settings on Firefox and makes note of a couple Chrome extensions, Adblock Plus and uBlock Origin, that could help with auto-play videos.

Internet users can also block keywords or change setting on the individual social media platforms. According to Consumer Reports, Facebook allows users to turn off auto-play videos. On Twitter, users can mute words or phrases of their choosing to help avoid content they don't want to see. As explained by Adweek, users can also stop videos from auto-playing on Twitter on the mobile app.

There are a lot of options out there, so if you have come across video content of any sort that you don't want to see, it's worth taking a look around to see what could work best for you.

Regarding the Christchurch attacks, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have all released statements.

According to CNBC, a Twitter spokesperson said, "We are deeply saddened by the shootings in Christchurch today. Twitter has rigorous processes and a dedicated team in place for managing exigent and emergency situations such as this. We also cooperate with law enforcement to facilitate their investigations as required."

Facebook's New Zealand office said, "Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video. We’re also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand police as their response and investigation continues."

A YouTube spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch, "Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy. Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms, and is removed as soon as we become aware of it. As with any major tragedy, we will work cooperatively with the authorities."