New Zealand police probing the online presence of the Australian white supremacist charged with killing 50 in a terror attack on mosques are being met with resistance from some websites.
Investigators have been looking into 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant’s involvement in far-right chat boards and other internet activity since the attack in Christchurch on Friday.
In one email exchange New Zealand police requested an American-based website preserve the emails and IP addresses linked to a number of posts about the attack, but were met with an expletive-filled reply.
In a reply posted on the site, its founder described the request as “a joke” before calling New Zealand as a “s***hole country” and an “irrelevant island nation”.
Police in a statement confirmed they had contacted the site, but would not comment further.
Tarrant posted a rambling 74-page “manifesto” online and foreshadowed the shootings on at least one other controversial forum popular among alt-right groups.
He also live-streamed the attack, with Facebook saying it had taken down 1.5 million videos in 24 hours as authorities scrambled to stop its spread.
Facebook said the original video on its service, a live broadcast of a gunman firing in and around a mosque, was seen fewer than 200 times.
An archived copy drew about 3800 additional views on Facebook before the company removed it, Facebook said in a blog post on Monday
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to global asking them to crack down on social media companies that broadcast terrorist attacks.
The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism – a consortium of global technology firms including Facebook, Google and Twitter – said it shared the digital “fingerprints” of more than 800 edited versions of the video.
Earlier this week, an 18-year-old man accused of distributing the live-stream, but who is not connected to the attack, appeared in Christchurch District Court.
The teen – who is also charged with posting a photograph of one of the mosques attacked with the message “target acquired” – was denied bail and could face up to 14 years’ jail if found guilty.