Comments encouraging a teenage girl to kill herself remain online four years after her suicide and could still lead to prosecutions, Netsafe says.
Anonymous users of the website Qooh.me posted questions and comments in 2013 telling 15-year-old Alatauai Sasa to end her life.
A coroner has found Sasa deliberately killed herself after a combination of online bullying and stresses at home drove her into a suicidal state.
While dealing with the pressure of having to be a police witness against a family member in a domestic violence case, and coping with a life where family violence and addiction were rife at home, Sasa was also facing cyberbullying from schoolmates on Facebook, and anonymous question sites qooh.me and ask.fm.
"Go kill urself hahahaha," said one comment.
"Go kill yourself baby," said another message. "You're depressed ... if you're depressed easiest thing is to escape this world. DO IT! xxx."
Netsafe's director of technology and partnerships, Sean Lyons, told NZH Focus the fact that the comments were still online meant the posters could potentially be prosecuted for incitement to suicide.
"I mean, phrases like 'go and kill yourself', anything that's an encouragement ... are criminal acts," he said.
At the time the comments were posted, the law was different in that there could only be prosecution over them if someone had attempted or succeeded in killing themselves.
"If the communication is still visible, if it's still seen as an incitement to suicide ... potentially those communications are criminal."
They would also fall under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, he said.
Anyone that felt online content was harmful could contact Netsafe to have the issue investigated. Action could be taken through Netsafe or even the district court to have the content removed.
"People are more aware of the idea that you don't have to just put up with a certain degree of harm. You can do something, you can take action, and organisations like Netsafe can help you or the district court if it's necessary to take that action, but there are processes available to people that weren't necessarily available then.
"Content comes down really quickly now. People don't have to live with the idea that it's going to be up there repeatedly causing harm day after day. Things can be down in the same day, sometimes within hours."
Lyons said "literally anybody" could contact Netsafe about harmful contact online, and it was as simple as picking up the phone, or filling out a form on Netsafe's website.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757