An overwhelming majority of New Zealanders would back a crackdown on social media companies, according to a UMR Research poll of 1000 adults, supplied exclusively to the Herald.

The results come as Privacy Commissioner John Edwards continues to voice his frustration at Facebook's refusal to change its livestreaming policy, and New York-based researcher Eric Feinberg finding seven more instances of the alleged Christchurch gunman's clip this morning (four on Facebook, two on Google-owned YouTube and one on Facebook-owned Instagram; the Herald did not click on links forwarded by Feinberg, but he established his bona fides last week when Facebook confirmed 11 instances of the clip that he had highlighted to this newspaper, which it said had all been removed. The social network says efforts to stamp out the video are ongoing).

The key findings of the UMR survey, carried out between March 26 and April 2:

• 86 per cent agreed that "the government should require social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to take more responsibility to prevent distribution of harmful content on their platforms."


• 11 per cent said they disagreed and 4 per cent were unsure.

• Younger respondents (under 30) were less likely to agree (76%) compared to those who are 60-plus (92%).

• Female respondents were more likely to strongly agree (66%) compared to males (53%) but there was no statistical difference when it came total agreement (strongly plus somewhat agree).

There was broad support for a crackdown by region (see full results below).

The research was commissioned by independent community group ActionStation, which was also behind an earlier report on online hate and racial abuse.

Spokesman Leroy Beckett says the UMR poll was crowdfunded; 78 people paid an average $28.31 (or a total $2208) to engage the professional researcher).

Our government has put most of its focus on gun control post-March 15, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying a global solution is needed.

So far, there's no sign of the type of tough, unilateral action taken by Australia last week or the UK this week.


Beckett hopes the UMR result will change that.

"We are hoping this showing of public support gives the government the confidence to move forward with new rules for social media companies that protect people online," he says.

Source: UMR Market Research poll of 1000 adults commisioned by ActionStation.
Source: UMR Market Research poll of 1000 adults commisioned by ActionStation.

For all the furor, Facebook remains too ingrained in NZ life for most of its critics to abandon.

Beckett readily admits his ginger group has a page on the social network.

"We stopped paying for advertising on the site after Christchurch like many organisations, but it remains an important way for us to stay in touch with our community," he says.

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