Faaez Samadi
Mar 25, 2019

New Zealand ad associations call for global action against Facebook

Joint statement slams Facebook over its “platitudes” regarding stopping harmful content following the Christchurch terrorist attack livestream, threatening a ban.

A New Zealander holds up the nation's flag at a protest in New York against Islamophobia following the Christchurch attacks (Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency)
A New Zealander holds up the nation's flag at a protest in New York against Islamophobia following the Christchurch attacks (Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency)

The Association of New Zealand Advertisers and Commercial Communications Council have issued yet another strong statement rebuking Facebook, this time calling on the global advertising community to take action in the wake of the Christchurch attacks.

In a release, both bodies said they are “collectively calling on our global networks to petition Facebook to make immediate changes to the security of its live streaming platform or, alternatively, suspend its use altogether until it can ensure the spread of such harmful content can never happen again”.

It follows the livestreaming on Facebook of the Christchurch mosque attacks, the worst terrorist attack in New Zealand’s history which left 50 people dead and a nation mourning.

The associations slammed Facebook for the “platitudes and details of its reactive measures” without implementing changes, and the “silence from Facebook regarding its live streaming capabilities”.

“ANZA and the Commercial Communications Council and their members believe the issue needs to be escalated, and we need to use our united global force as an industry to drive urgent actions,” the statement said.

The statement outlines three actions agencies and brands around the world can take: suspend advertising on Facebook, as the ANZA and CCC called for in their first statement following the attacks; bring up the issue at the executive level within organisations and petition Facebook for change; and work with each country’s own industry bodies and regulators to bring about change.

“We write to you as representatives of advertisers and advertising agencies in a country which is in mourning and deeply concerned and disappointed with the response from the social media platforms,” the statement begins. “We are asking for your support and help.”

Campaign contacted a Facebook spokesperson for comment, and was directed the company's latest statement on the attacks from 20 March. In it, Guy Rosen, vice president of product management, said: "We continue to focus on the tools, technology and policies to keep people safe on [Facebook] Live."

ANZA added that it will be presenting on this subject at the upcoming World Federation of Advertisers global conference in Portugal this week. The statement also said the issue was not one of apportioning blame for the attacks, which lies squarely with the terrorist.

“It is about the responsibility of social media, and by association the global advertising community, to ensure that social media platforms can no longer be used as a publishing mechanism for extremist propaganda or a live broadcaster of atrocities.”

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