At least 49 people have been murdered at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand and 20 others seriously injured in what has already been labelled as a terrorist attack by the New Zealand prime minister.
The incident was carried out at the Masjid Al Noor mosque at around 13:45 on Friday afternoon with police arresting four people, one of whom is said to be an Australian citizen, following a second shooting at a mosque in the suburbs of the city.
Reports have suggested that the shooter live-streamed the attack on his Facebook account and had recorded himself giving an Islamophobic speech before carrying out the act.
New Zealand police have asked people not to share any of this graphic and distressing footage online and are attempting to have any videos removed.
Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online… https://t.co/D6fPY7CBsP
— New Zealand Police (@New Zealand Police)
In the wake of these types of events, you are more than likely to see several stories, images and videos online that claim to be from the incident despite little information being made available to the public.
It is always important to remain vigilant about what you read and view in relation to this event in the next few days in order to avoid spreading misinformation and fear mongering.
If you do happen to see anything along those lines, here are a few things to consider that will help the authorities and others understand what has happened.
1. Get your information from official news sources.
Many people will share their thoughts and what they believe has happened in New Zealand in the next few hours.
However, if you do feel that you must share it only trust information that has come from official and reliable sources.
Always double check that anything you have read has been reported by the authorities before sharing anything on social media.
2. If you think you have information, send it to the right source.
Only a small amount of information about the shooting has been relayed to the public so far but, if you believe that you have any knowledge, imagery or footage, it's important that it is sent to the right people first and not shared online.
Sharing anything on social media before contacting the authorities can seriously hinder an investigation when your evidence, no matter how small, could be valuable.
3. Don't share any graphic content or disturbing imagery.
As already mentioned, the alleged gunman reportedly live streamed the attack on his Facebook account. Several videos have already been shared on social media claiming to be from the incident.
At this time it is unknown whether these are actually from the attack but, regardless, they are completely reprehensible and have no place on any form of social media.
Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Reddit are said to be actively taking down the videos as soon as they are uploaded but many are still slipping through the cracks.
As if to show how hard the task of moderation is, I'm watching videos of the incident be uploaded and taken down an… https://t.co/ChhELFgNlp