Christchurch terror attack: Expert wants Facebook livestreaming suspended

A communications and PR expert has called on Facebook to suspend users' ability to livestream content until it can be proven safe.

PR expert Trish Sherson appeared on the AM Show's panel and criticised the mega-corporation's response to the Christchurch terror attack, saying it didn't go far enough.

"I thought Facebook's statement yesterday was really disingenuous. They came and said, 'look, since this happened we've taken down 1.5 million versions of this video or stopped it being uploaded'. The point is this went out live.

"You have a content which is utterly objectionable on any measure, it is amazing that it can go live, and it is beyond belief that this is streaming out for 17 minutes and that it wasn't Facebook that called the authorities in New Zealand

"I'll tell you how precise Facebook's algorithms are: if I made a video myself of the kids and I put some licensed music behind it and I went to upload it, Facebook would stop me at that point and say 'you can't upload this because you're using licensed music'.

"So you can't tell me that you can't stop a livestream and I think that the livestreaming service should be suspended globally until they can prove that it is safe."

Sherson approved of Monday's move by local businesses to suspend their Facebook advertising, saying this was the way to get the company's attention.

 "I'm very pleased to see the action from advertisers, I think that is the only thing that this company cares about, is the money.

 "Let's face it, they are now the biggest media players in the world. They grew an audience to then turn it on to advertising, so they have the eyeballs, and I think it would be a very easy thing actually for this company, if they really gave a shit, to say 'we are suspending live video until we can prove we can manage it safely'."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she intends to ask Facebook officials how the gunman was able to livestream the massacre that killed 50 people.

"I do think there are further questions to be answered. Obviously these social media platforms have wide reach," she said.

"This is an issue that goes well beyond New Zealand, but it doesn't mean we can't play an active role in getting it resolved."