Facebook Faces an Ad Boycott After Livestream of the New Zealand Mosque Shooting
A consortium of New Zealand’s major companies has pledged to pull their advertising from Facebook (FB) following the live-streaming of Friday’s mosque shootings in Christchurch, the New Zealand Herald reported Monday.
In a joint statement, the Association of New Zealand Advertisers (ANZA) and the Commercial Communications Council asked domestic companies to think about where “their advertising dollars are spent, and carefully consider, with their agency partners, where their ads appear.”
They added, “We challenge Facebook and other platform owners to immediately take steps to effectively moderate hate content before another tragedy can be streamed online.”
ASB Bank, Lotto NZ, Burger King and telecoms company Spark have signed on to pull their ad dollars from Facebook, the Herald reported.
It follows the decision of state-owned Lotto NZ to pull its advertising from social media “as the tone didn’t feel right in the aftermath of these events,” a spokesperson told Reuters.
Kiwibank, the Bank of New Zealand, and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group have also independently pulled most or all of their ads from Facebook. It’s not yet clear how extensive the pull-back will be or how long the companies will abstain, however.
Businesses need to seriously consider “if they wish to be associated with social media platforms unable or unwilling to take responsibility for content on those sites,” ANZA CEO Lindsay Mouat told the Herald.
Facebook did not immediately return Fortune‘s request for comment.
A total of 50 people died in the attacks in Christchurch, which were documented in a 17-minute video from the shooter. New Zealand police have charged 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant with murder, while a second so-far-unnamed 18-year-old man has been charged with inciting violence by distributing footage of the attack.
Facebook said Sunday it removed 1.5 million videos of the mosque shooting from its servers in the 24 hours following the attack, many of those at the upload stage. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern countered Monday that tech companies have “a lot of work” to do to curb the proliferation of hateful and violent content. She urged all social media companies to take responsibility for how their platforms were used both before and after the mosque attacks.
Many social media and video platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, Reddit and Twitch, have been scrambling to prevent the video from spreading further. Automatic filters are only likely to be able to catch exact copies of the video, the Wall Street Journal reports, so if the footage is slightly altered then human intervention is required to block it. Facebook initially allowed clips and images showing nonviolent scenes of Tarrant’s video to stay up, but has since reversed course and is removing all of his footage.
Tony Fernandes, CEO of Malaysia’s low-cost airline AirAsia, said goodbye to his 670,000 Facebook followers over the weekend over the Christchurch atrocity.
Fernandes posted messages on rival Twitter (TWTR), where he has 1.3 million followers, explaining that he could no longer be a part of Facebook after the killings were live-streamed.