To the global advertising and agency community,
We write to you as representatives of advertisers and advertising agencies in a country which is in mourning and deeply concerned and disappointed with the response from the social media platforms. We are asking for your support and help.
Following the Christchurch attacks, we have spoken with New Zealand’s largest advertisers, and advertising and media agencies and we are collectively calling on our global networks to petition Facebook to make immediate changes to the security of its live streaming platform or, alternatively, suspend its use altogether until it can ensure the spread of such harmful content can never happen again.
While Facebook has provided platitudes and details of its reactive measures it has not implemented strict controls to verify safe content and users or paused live streaming, meaning a repeat of the broadcast of violent acts seen in Christchurch could happen at any time around the world. Given there has been silence from Facebook regarding its live streaming capabilities, ANZA and the Commercial Communications Council and their members believe the issue needs to be escalated, and we need to use our united global force as an industry to drive urgent actions.
There are three steps as an advertiser or agency you could take to support us:
1. Consider suspending advertising on Facebook until its live streaming functionality is either taken down or sufficient controls are put in place.
2. Put this topic on the agenda at an Executive level within your organisation, and petition Facebook for change.
3. As agency and client communities in your own countries, work together and with your own industry associations and government regulators to apply pressure to bring about change.
We expect this event must be deeply disturbing for Facebook’s Board and senior management, that the use of a platform they created to connect the world could be corrupted in such a harmful and divisive way – and on a human level we would like to understand how they intend to respond?
This is not about apportioning blame. That clearly lies with the terrorist who committed these heinous acts, but it is about the responsibility of social media, and by association the global advertising community, to ensure that social media platforms can no longer be used as a publishing mechanism for extremist propaganda or a live broadcaster of atrocities.
ANZA will be presenting on this topic and the measures being taken in New Zealand to the World Federation of Advertisers at its global conference in Portugal this week, with a call for their support.
In the same way New Zealand has responded to this tragedy with empathy, humility, swift action and tangible outcomes, we won’t stop using our industry voice until these platforms respond in kind.
- ANZA and the Comms Council released an initial statement about the attacks last week.