After each new horror photography an overly familiar bike often plays out: Reporters (included) to try to unpack an alleged shooter's possible motivation by linking clues from their social media and online posts before everything is written from the internet. We do this in the hope that it will somehow give a window into their minds during the months leading up to the attack, or at least take a little closer to answering the extremely useless question: Why?
But this approach entails the potentially dangerous accidental consequences. At least 49 people were killed on Friday during attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and as a clockwork, the cycle began almost immediately. But this time it was a little different. The alleged shooter himself had given the world more responses and possible motivations for his own actions than what seemed like the internet knew how to handle.
Hours before the attack took the alleged shooter on Twitter and 8chan-an online message card for its distinctive toxicity mark ̵
The Internet did pretty much just that. Gory's first-person Facebook video of shooting quickly went viral, spreading across social media platforms like a sponge before platforms could take it down. Since then, pundits, analysts, and internet conclusions have publicly dissected and interpreted each line of his long manifesto – along with his equally poisonous social media presence-reverse public discussion into something closer to a range of right-rabbit speaker keywords.  There was no need for internet sleuths to track their social media accounts and combing them for clues, as he publicly sent their existence: They were predictably filled with more evoked explanations for his actions. It was "a very clear occurrence of media manipulation", designed with the world's eye in mind, says Whitney Phillips, a data and community researcher specializing in magic culture and enhancing extremism on the net.
"The goal of media management as an act is to generate the most possible coverage possible, including intensive focus on the perpetrator," says Phillips. "When journalists pore over motifs and pores over all the details of that person's life, even if the reporter is abducted by actions, that person remains the main character of the movie – and it is their goal: to be the central figure in this play. "
When talking about extremist actions – especially those with a large online presence – there is a tendency to take their statements and claims to a nominal value. It makes sense: If anyone, regularly tweets say links to Daily Stormer and predominantly interacting with neo-Nazis and white supremacists online, it is reasonable to assume that they probably share these views, however, this fails to take into account the individual's proclivity against media manipulation.
In the case of the Christchurch shooter, Phillips says he showed "a self-conscious awareness of" the internet over the head is to scour an alleged gunman mail history for clues ", allowing to choose to jump on the manipulator's store so incredibly dangerous."
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