Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has deleted two of his anti-Facebook posts on Twitter, saying they had become a distraction.
On Sunday night, Edwards tweeted:
"Facebook cannot be trusted. They are morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar), facilitate foreign undermining of democratic institutions."
"[They] allow the live streaming of suicides, rapes, and murders, continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target 'Jew haters' and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm. They #DontGiveAZuck."
The tweets made news around the world, as did his early comment that Facebook's initial silence was "an insult to our grief."
Yesterday, he posted, "I have deleted the tweets promoting my discussion [on RNZ] about Mark Zuckerberg's interview because of the volume of toxic and misinformed traffic they prompted."
• Trump deletes Christchurch mosque massacre tweet
While the government has made measured comments around social media since March 15, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calling for more discussion about when Facebook is a platform or a publisher, and indicating her government would prefer to take part in a coordinated global response, Edwards has been notably on the front foot.
Since March 15, the Privacy Commissioner has asked Facebook to suspend livestreaming until safeguards can be put in place; supply names of people who shared the alleged gunman's video to NZ police, and to supply him with statistics on the number of self-harm, suicide and sexual assault incidents that had been broadcast on Facebook Live. The social network has knocked him back on all counts.
"To me, that is an abdication of moral responsibility to say 'It's evil, but if we don't do it, somebody else will," Edwards told Newstalk ZB on Monday as he paraphrased Facebook's response to his request to turn off Facebook Live until safeguards were in place.
"You know, we don't raise our children to undertake those kinds of moral calculations."
In an interview with ABC News last Friday, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg argued against a slight delay for Facebook Live, using a "greater good" argument that it would ruin the service for those who used it for the likes of sharing a birthday party.
"I thought those comments were disingenuous," Edwards told NewstalkZB.
"If you've got a product that can cause great harm, then you have a great responsibility to ensure steps are taken to avoid that harm."
Google on front foot
Facebook's refusal to make any changes - even slight or temporary - to its service was in contrast to the Google-owned YouTube.
"We took an unprecedented step [after the Christchurch shootings] to suspend the ability to filter searches or sort by upload date on YouTube, in order to limit the reach and discoverability of violative videos while the team worked to remove them,' Google Australia-NZ spokeswoman Carrie Jones told the Herald.
Facebook had no direct comment on Edwards' Sunday night tweets. A spokesman directed the Herald to a transcript of Zuckerberg's ABC News interview and CEO Sheryl Sandberg's open letter on the shootings, which included a summary of her company's efforts to block the alleged gunman's video, and hate content.
With our government indicating it won't follow Australia and the UK with a unilateral crackdown on social media, our largest bank (ANZ) saying it will return to social advertising and now Edwards climb-down, it has been something of a turnaround week for Facebook.
Meanwhile, more copies of the alleged gunman's clip continue to appear on Facebook, with New York-based researcher Eric Feinberg locating another this morning.