Australia's biggest telecommunications carriers have blocked "dozens" of websites that continue to host footage of the mosque shooting in New Zealand.
Australia's largest carrier Telstra issued a statement on Tuesday local time saying it had blocked a number of sites still hosting the footage, which shows a gunman storming a mosque in central Christchurch and gunning down worshippers as they prayed. Australia's other major carriers Optus and Vodafone confirmed they had also blocked a number of sites.
"We understand this may cause inconvenience for some legitimate users of these sites but these are extraordinary circumstances and they required an extraordinary response," said Nikos Katinakis, Telstra group executive of Networks and IT.
"We appreciate that it is necessary to ensure free speech is carefully balanced against protecting the community, but with these sites continuing to host disturbing content we feel it is the right thing to do to block them."
Vodafone issued a similar response, saying it blocked dozens of sites to stop the further spread of the video and that it was lifting the blocks once it became aware the footage had been removed.
The move follows swift action taken by New Zealand carriers in the aftermath of the shooting to temporarily block sites hosting the footage and request it be taken down.
While Telstra didn't name the blocked sites, CNET was able to confirm that message board sites 8chan, 4chan and Voat were longer accessible through the Telstra network. The alleged shooter behind the attack, an Australian national living in New Zealand, posted links to the livestream of the shooting as well as a lengthy screen justifiying his actions, on 8chan before the shooting.
The extraordinary decision by Australian carriers followsfrom the country's top politicians on Tuesday, criticising social media networks such as Facebook for allowing footage of the shooting to spread.
US lawmakers have also ordered companies including Facebook and Google, which owns YouTube, to . The companies have been asked to explain their responses to the events on Friday and their plans to tackle the spread of extremist content on their networks.