French gendarmes arrested the perpetrator of a violent attack and rescued his victim after Facebook alerted them to a live stream of the attack, they said on Wednesday.

Facebook alerted authorities to the live stream, which showed a man holding a handgun beating another man and threatening to kill him, just after 5.00 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Saturday.

Police were able to use the images and the live streamer’s Facebook account to track the incident to a house in a rural area of the Britanny region.

They entered the house at 7.20 a.m. and arrested the attacker without him having time to react, according to a statement.

The victim was found in a state of shock and with a swollen face.

The attacker was sentenced to five years in prison, with one year suspended, after admitting to carrying out the attack and broadcasting images of it on social media.

Facebook alerted authorities through the French government’s Pharos platform, which is also open to members of the public, who come across illicit material of any kind online.

The incident comes as French authorities seek to increase the obligations of social media companies and other internet firms to police illegal content.

Facebook agreed in June to provide French judicial authorities with the IP addresses of users suspected of illegally inciting hatred, according to Digital Affairs Minister, Cedric O.

It had previously only done so for terrorism-related material and child pornography, O said at the time.

The French government has also brought forward legislation that would oblige internet firms to remove any material inciting hatred within 24 hours of being alerted to it.

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