Tourism New Zealand has suspended marketing around the world following the terror attacks in Christchurch as all Government spending on social media platforms is reviewed.
Tourism NZ says the ''pause'' is across all marketing platforms.
It spends about 80 per cent of its $45.3 million annual advertising budget in digital channels, which give it deep international reach. These include Facebook and Google-owned YouTube, which have been widely condemned for allowing offensive content to be run on their sites.
Tourism NZ has had a long collaboration including content partnerships with Facebook.
"In response to the event [in Christchurch] we have paused our marketing activity across all advertising platforms,'' said the general manager, New Zealand and Government Relations, Rebecca Ingram.
''At this stage it's too early to say how and when we will start promotion again. We are currently working with our key markets to inform our approach."'
Fifty people were killed in the attacks on two mosques last Friday, March 15.
The Tourism NZ Facebook page has more than 3 million followers. In the comments section are photos of the alleged Christchurch gunman, a disabled link to video of the killings and comments about the killings, some critical of the country and others praising the response.
These are interspersed with separate and more typical observations from tourists who enjoyed their holidays here.
When these were pointed out, a spokeswoman said its social media accounts were monitored and this had been ''amplified'' since last Friday.
State Services minister Chris Hipkins said a review of government agencies' current and planned use of social media platforms was under way.
The commission would establish what "likely impact any suspension would have on their ability to communicate and engage with citizens about the services they provided''.
Already there has been a commercial backlash.
Big banks including ASB, TSB, Westpac, BNZ, ANZ and Kiwibank have suspended advertising from the social media channels.
A TSB spokesperson has said the company could not continue to support these channels under the current circumstances.
New Zealand telcos are also calling for action.
And yesterday KiwiSaver fund manager Milford Asset Management said it had dumped about $14m worth of shares in Facebook and joined the call from government-backed retirement fund managers for Facebook, Google and Twitter to take greater care monitoring content posted to social media platforms.
The Christchurch mosque shootings were livestreamed on Facebook and shared across the internet, described as ''horrendous'' by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Economists at the ANZ and Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis have said there will be an impact on the number of overseas visitors here.
AUT tourism professor Simon Milne also says there may be a small impact on holiday visitor numbers but it was not likely to last long. More significant would be the impact on some key Muslim markets (such as Indonesia) and in particular sectors such as international education.
''The real question is whether NZ's long-standing and well justified image as a safe place to travel will be eroded by this terror attack,'' he said.
''Tourists were not the target and this appears to be very much a 'one-off' attack. The global coverage post-attack is very much showing a nation that is embracing the role of love and forgiveness in overcoming this immediate challenge – one could argue that this casts New Zealand in a positive light.''
Tourism numbers out of Asia – especially China – were looking soft even before Friday's terror attack and it would be difficult to isolate the event as being the cause of any dip in arrivals.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said it wasn't appropriate to assess the impact of the tragedy out of respect for those affected, saying the time for assessing any broader impacts would come later. His organisaton would work with the tourism industry and government agencies to monitor this carefully.