The Commercial Communications Council and Association of New Zealand Advertisers have called on the Government to take the lead in ensuring social media platforms are regulated appropriately.

Both organisations have jointly penned and sent a letter addressed to Prime Minister Jacinda Arden asking that the Government addresses local regulations on social media and encourages a co-ordinated "international response".

The organisations say the letter was prompted following a lack of action and enforced change in the weeks after the Christchurch terrorist attacks on two mosques on March 15 which killed 50 people and was broadcast on social media through Facebook Live.

READ MORE: • Advertising after Christchurch – when is it okay to go back?

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The 17-minute video, which has since been officially classified as "objectionable" meaning it is banned from being watched or shared, was viewed around 4000 times before Facebook took it down.

The letter was sent to Ardern's office yesterday and Paul Head, chief executive of the Commercial Communications Council, says he hoped it would initiate a change to legislation.

READ MORE: • P&G puts ad platforms like Facebook, Google on notice

The Commercial Communications Council and Association of New Zealand Advertisers have been working together since the attacks.

"Our concern all along has been that we've got a platform with Facebook in particular, and social media more broadly, that has been co-opted by evil," Head says.

"There's no way that the kind of events that we saw in Christchurch should ever be livestreamed, and certainly not shared one and a half billion times."

In the weeks following the event the organisations have called for change from Facebook to fix livestreaming and, if they can't, to can it. They have also called on advertisers to carefully consider where they are spending their advertising dollars.

It has also involved the World Federation of Advertisers, which collectively have been putting pressure on Facebook to make a change.

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Today, four weeks to the day of the attacks, Head says there has been no meaningful action from Facebook, says Head.

"There's been a lot of talk but they've done nothing. What happened in Christchurch can as easily happen today and it could be livestreamed."

Head says the lack of action by the social media giant meant the organisers had taken their concerns to the Government to enforce certain standards.

"It's time for Government to step in and we think there is a role for regulation to play."

The organisations are asking for the Prime Minister to do two things: move quickly on regulation around online safety around livestreaming and restrict the access of highly offensive material to be shared very quickly.

Social media platforms are media and they are publishers. The defence they have always used is that they are simply the pipeline not the publisher... that's disingenuous and needs to change.

"Given the stance the Government has taken and the profile now has and I think the genuine respect she has from global leaders about her handling of this situation, we think there is an opportunity for her and New Zealand to be a strong voice in creating longer term solutions around challenges with social media and the online environment," Head says.

In the past 10 days Australia has passed new social media legislation and put in place strict penalties such as prison sentences for executives or organisations if they do not act quickly enough to remedy the situation.

The advertising organisations do not have clear ideas of what kind of regulation Government could implement but said they could for starters hold social media giants to account like traditional publishers such as TV, radio and print.

Floral tributes to the Mosque shooting victims at Hagley Park, Christchurch. Photo / Michael Craig
Floral tributes to the Mosque shooting victims at Hagley Park, Christchurch. Photo / Michael Craig

"Social media platforms are media and they are publishers. The defence they have always used is that they are simply the pipeline not the publisher therefore we are not really responsible for the content - I think that's disingenuous and needs to change," he says.

"We need to make social media accountable for content, and then around that build in some very strong sanctions for very serious breaches. An event like Christchurch would be a very serious breach."

New social media and online legislation would outline the rules and consequences, and would ensure social media platforms comply. Current legislation does not include any consequence, Head says.

Despite Facebook's lack of action and delay in responding to news of the Christchurch attacks, other platforms such as Google and YouTube had made changes to their livestreaming policies.

YouTube now requires YouTube accounts to have a minimum 1000 subscribers in order to be able to livestream on the video platform.