Faaez Samadi
Apr 12, 2019

New Zealand ad bodies slam Facebook over inaction post-Christchurch

Associations also praise YouTube for imposing stricter livestreaming measures.

Flowers and tributes displayed in memory of the twin mosque massacre victims outside the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch. (Photo: Sanka Vidanagama/AFP)
Flowers and tributes displayed in memory of the twin mosque massacre victims outside the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch. (Photo: Sanka Vidanagama/AFP)

The Association of New Zealand Advertisers has continued to rebuke Facebook over its lack of action following the Christchurch terrorist attacks with a new statement calling on the country’s government to “actively address local regulatory solutions” against social-media platforms.

Together with the Commercial Communications Council, the association's statement strongly condemns Facebook’s perceived intransigence in changing its live-streaming platforms. It also suggests gestures such as Sheryl Sandberg’s letter to the New Zealand Herald were tokenistic, saying both the letter and Mark Zuckerberg’s resistance to live-streaming changes “demonstrate a lack of commitment to meaningful change”.


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“The unfortunate reality is this. Nothing has been done by Facebook to ensure the dreadful events such as occurred in Christchurch cannot be live-streamed again,” the statement reads. “While the advertising community will continue to apply what pressure it can, we believe that platforms have not demonstrated sufficient integrity over this issue to continue to be allowed to define the rules of content management.”

The statement also welcomed “positive initial steps” YouTube has taken to ensure stricter access to its live-streaming platform. These include stronger account verification standards, requiring a user to have at least 1,000 subscribers before they can live-stream on mobile.

“These simple initiatives demonstrate that steps can be taken to better protect the community, where there is a will to do so,” the statement says.

Facebook did not respond to Campaign Asia-Pacific's request for comment, while Google declined to comment. 

Both organisations say they are ready to work with the New Zealand government to look into regulation, and help “lead a rising call” internationally for social-media oversight. Such measures have already been introduced in Australia, with the UK considering similar legislation.

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