Image: SOPA Images/Contributor
Live-streaming platform and social network Yubo are cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation into the shooter behind the Uvalde, Texas school shooting. The shooter used the app to meet a girl in Germany, whom he later texted shortly before the shooting.
“We are deeply saddened by this unspeakable loss and are cooperating fully with law enforcement in their investigation,” a Yubo spokesman told Motherboard in an emailed statement. “At this time, we are legally unable to release certain user information outside of direct law enforcement requests, but can confirm that we are investigating an account that has since been suspended from the platform.”
Yubo’s slogan is “Make friends. get real Go Live.” Founded in 2015, the app is a hybrid of live video chat, texting, and discovering new contacts based on their interests or location. Yubo users can also play games with each other.
“I love the app because I can meet people from all over the world. It has introduced me to many new friends who I am happy to say are people I can trust,” reads a review by Yubo on its Apple App Store page.
Do you work on content moderation for Yubo? We’d love to hear from you. If you are using a private phone or computer you can safely contact Joseph Cox via Signal on +44 20 8133 5190, Wickr on josephcox, OTR chat on [email protected] or email [email protected] contact .com.
On Wednesday CNN reported that the shooter was communicating with a girl in Germany shortly before the shooting. The pair met on Yubo, CNN said. The child spoke to CNN with her mother’s consent, and the child said that speaking to the shooter on social media was her only connection to him.
This communication just prior to the shooting between the shooter and the girl appears to have been via text; According to ABCin other cases, several Yubo users tried to report the shooter for suspicious messages and statements about the app on the platform, but “no matter how many times he was reported… he would still come back,” one user said.
Yubo told Motherboard that it uses artificial intelligence to moderate live streams in real time. After these systems flag content, or when a user manually flags it, a team of moderators intervene. As part of this process, the app also takes screenshots every second.
Like many other tech companies Yubo has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)., giving Yubo the ability to report suspected online child exploitation to the organization in real time. Yubo told Motherboard that his “SAFE mode” filters out inappropriate messages like sexual requests.
Earlier this week, Yubo announced that it will be introducing an age verification system that will prompt the app to turn on the phone’s camera, after which the user will be prompted to look at their phone. A “liveness algorithm” then aims to detect movement to verify that the user isn’t simply viewing a photo taken from somewhere else. TechCrunch reported. The system then supposedly recognizes if their face matches the age they gave when they signed up in the app.
The moderation of live streams has traditionally been a topic for social networks. The mass shooter from Christchurch, New Zealand, broadcast his attack on Facebook Live. According to internal Facebook documents previously received by MotherboardFacebook moderators had the option to “snooze” a live stream, meaning it would return to them every five minutes so they could reassess whether to respond to the stream.
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