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New Zealand firms to pull ads from Facebook, Google

19 March 2019

At least 49 people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand's third-largest city.

A collective of some of New Zealand's biggest companies is set to pull ads from Facebook and Google in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosques shootings in which the gunman live-streamed his massacre of 50 people.

The terror attack appears to have been created to go viral, with the alleged shooter releasing a manifesto that referenced numerous individuals like YouTuber Felix Kjellberg and Candace Owens, as well as white supremacist conspiracy theories.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube said they would take down content involving the mass shootings which were posted online as the attack unfolded.

"We continue to work around the clock to remove violating content using a combination of technology and people", Mia Garlnick, spokesperson for Facebook New Zealand, said Sunday.

"Ultimately it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal", she told reporters. "This is a problem that goes well beyond New Zealand".

"So I think there are some very real discussions that have to be had about how these facilities and capabilities as they exist on social media, can continue to be offered".

As Peter Kafka quoted Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg in Recode from a post relating to the spread of misinformation by Russians on the platform in 2017; these platforms put no roadblocks to the spouting of hate speech and now a terrorist attack before it has actually happened.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "They have taken action to take it down and we are clear that all companies need to act more quickly to remove terrorist content".

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In response, Facebook says it has hired tens of thousands of human moderators and is investing in artificial intelligence to help police their sites. "Take some ownership. Enough is enough".

"Obviously these social media platforms have wide reach", she said. "Tech companies have a responsibility to do the morally right thing".

The 22-year-old, who has not been named by police, will be charged under the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act. He could face up to 14 years in jail if convicted.

Critics have also slammed some mainstream media for broadcasting the video, with some United Kingdom tabloids briefly posting excerpts before apparently reconsidering.

But yesterday morning, the video footage was back online.

British journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy described the posting of the "murder video" as a "new low in clickbait".

Brenton Tarrant wrote a multi-page document, praising previous attacks done by white supremacists.

Social media expert and Buzzfeed journalist Craig Silverman said the killer "created the equivalent of a multiplatform content strategy" that was "meticulously planned". It also said it alerts authorities to threats of violence or violence as soon as it becomes aware through reports or Facebook tools.

New Zealand firms to pull ads from Facebook, Google