New Zealand firms are considering whether to pull their advertisements from social media following last Friday’s terror attack on two mosques.
The mass shooting killed 50 and injured dozens more. It was also live-streamed on Facebook. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reportedly wants answers from Facebook regarding how this happened, and said that the responsibility for the removal of videos from the scene ultimately rested with social media platforms.
“We did as much as we could to remove, or seek to have removed, some of the footage that was being circulated in the aftermath of this terrorist attack,” Ardern said. “But ultimately it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal.”
The Association of New Zealand Advertisers and the Commercial Communications Council put out a joint statement on Monday asking firms to consider sending a similar message to social media platforms.
“The events in Christchurch raise the question, if the site owners can target consumers with advertising in microseconds, why can’t the same technology be applied to prevent this kind of content being streamed live?” the statement read.
“ANZA and the Comms Council encourage all advertisers to recognize they have choice where their advertising dollars are spent, and carefully consider, with their agency partners, where their ads appear,” it continued. “We challenge Facebook and other platform owners to immediately take steps to effectively moderate hate content before another tragedy can be streamed online.”
Some firms had already made the decision to pull their ads. New Zealand’s Lotto told Reuters it had already done so “as the tone didn’t feel right in the aftermath of these events.”
ASB Bank is reportedly considering pulling its ads, as are Burger King and telecommunications company Spark, according to the New Zealand Herald.
At least one firm’s executive is also personally pulling out of Facebook. Tony Fernandes, chief executive of AirAsia, quit Facebook on Sunday, explaining himself on Twitter (where he is still active).
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.