New Zealand firms consider pulling ads from social media after mass shooting

The Association of New Zealand Advertisers and the Commercial Communications Council asked all advertisers on Monday to consider where they place their ads and challenged Facebook and other platform owners to take steps to moderate hate content.

“Businesses are already asking if they wish to be associated with social media platforms unable or unwilling to take responsibility for content on those sites,” the two groups said in a joint statement.

“The events in Christchurch raise the question, if the site owners can target consumers with advertising in microseconds, why can’t the same technology be applied to prevent this kind of content being streamed live?”

Media representatives from Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Facebook said on Saturday it removed 1.5 million videos globally of the attack in the first 24 hours after the attack and is removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content.

Both Facebook and Youtube said they are also using automated tools to identify violent content and remove them.

New Zealand’s biggest telecommunications company, Spark NZ, worked with a number of broadband providers late on Friday to cut off access to dozens of websites that were redistributing the video of the killings, to stop it spreading.

“This is a pretty extreme step. We’ve never done this before,” said Spark spokesman Andrew Pirie. He declined to name websites that had been blocked, saying the list was evolving.

Spark did not bar access to Facebook as many customers were depending on it to contact friends and family after the massacre, Pirie said. The company is not considering pulling advertising from any social media, he said.

Meanwhile, an Adelaide man who posted social media comments in support of the Christchurch mosque massacre has been granted bail on condition he keep off the internet.

Chad Rolf Vinzelberg, 37, hung his head and wept as he faced Elizabeth Magistrates Court on Monday charged with one count of aggravated possessing a firearm without a licence and four counts of using or possessing a prohibited weapon.

Police prosecutor Brevet Sergeant Peter Finey told the court police were on Friday made aware of comments posted by Vinzelberg and photos that showed him with a firearm.

“It was after the Christchurch massacre,” he said.

“He posted certain things on Facebook in support of that.”

The court heard the discovery led police to search Vinzelberg’s home at Smithfield, north of Adelaide, where they seized a fake pistol, extendable baton and two flick knives from under his mattress, and a medieval mace and crossbow from his shed.

In an interview, Vinzelberg told officers he bought the fake pistol at a garage sale several years ago, and the other weapons were bought online, on Gumtree or at a shop at Salisbury.

Brevet Sergeant Finey said police were opposed to all forms of bail because of the potential danger posed by Vinzelberg.

“The messages posted on Facebook by the defendant (that) brought him to police attention are significant in concern and, in light of that, the prosecution have a general concern for the safety of the public,” he said.

But defence lawyers said a lot of the seized weapons were mounted ornamental items found in what Vinzelberg referred to as his “man cave”.

They also argued Vinzelberg worked 40-60 hours a week as a demolition rigger, pays the mortgage on his family’s home, and had never been remanded in custody before.

Magistrate Gary Gumpl released Vinzelberg on $2000 bail on the condition he does not access or post anything on the internet, and he will reappear before the court in December.

Vinzelberg, who was supported in court by his partner and father, ran from waiting media after he was released.

Reuters

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