The heads of the Association of New Zealand Advertisers and the Commercial Communications Council have published an open letter calling on the international advertising community to use its clout to force changes at Facebook.

The pair have demanded immediate changes to or the complete suspension of the livestreaming platform in the wake of the livestreaming of an attack on a Christchurch mosque in which 50 people died.

If changes are not made, they want international advertisers to suspend the use of the platform altogether until Facebook ensures the spread of such harmful content can never happen again, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Leading local telcos Vodafone, 2degrees and Spark have also published an open letter calling for action from the social media company, while major New Zealand advertisers – including major banks, Lotto NZ and Tourism New Zealand – have suspended their advertising on the platform.

The ANZA and the Commercial Communications Council were critical of the “platitudes and details of its reactive measures” offered up by Facebook after the massacre and its failure to address the livestreaming issue.

The inadequacy of Facebook’s response to date has angered the local community. “Your silence is an insult to our grief,” Privacy Commissioner John Edwards told the company in an email.

Across the Tasman Sea, Australian politicians are gearing up to take action, with PM Scott Morrison stating: “We need to prevent social media platforms being weaponised.”

New laws being proposed would make it a criminal offence to fail to remove the offending footage as soon as possible after it was reported or it otherwise became known to the company. And there would be escalating penalties the longer it remained on the social media platform.

Sourced from New Zealand Herald; additional content by WARC staff