The Privacy Commissioner has sent Facebook a damning email, accusing it of failing to "mitigate the deep, deep pain and harm from the live-streamed massacre of our colleagues, family members and countrymen broadcast over your network".
John Edwards says despite a promise from the social media giant a week before the Christchurch attacks on March 15 to "keep communications open", aside from a "rote email" concerning a password issue, he's heard nothing from them since, NZME reported.
The attack, which left 50 people dead and shocked the country, was livestreamed on Facebook in its entirety before being removed. The company responded by taking down millions of attempts to re-upload the footage, but saying it wouldn't immediately be making changes to its livestreaming policies.
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Edwards has asked the company to hand over the names of those who watched and shared it to the police, considering the video an "egregious" breach of the victims' rights to privacy, NZME reported last week.
Facebook hasn't been in touch since.
"It would be very difficult for you and your colleagues to overestimate the growing frustration and anger here at Facebook's facilitation of and inability to mitigate the deep, deep pain and harm from the live-streamed massacre of our colleagues, family members and countrymen broadcast over your network," Edwards wrote in an email to Facebook on Friday, shared with Newshub by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on Monday.
"Your silence is an insult to our grief."
He confirmed the lack of contact in a tweet about a story by NZME's Chris Keall about Facebook's inability - or unwillingness - to crack down on hateful content.
"After your piece on Facebook's 15th birthday which contained critical quotes from me, senior execs got in touch to offer regular briefings," Edwards wrote. "We [video-called] Singapore & Washington DC on 8 March & committed to 'keep communication channels open'. Contact since 15/03 .... 0."
A spokesperson for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner said Edwards decided to go public with his frustrations because "he has few other options".
"Under the current Privacy Act, his office has no penalties it can impose on global tech companies like Facebook.
"His only resort is to publicly name Facebook for not ensuring its livestreaming service is a safe platform which does not compound the original harm caused by the Christchurch killings."
The first report to Facebook about the video came 12 minutes after it ended. Facebook reportedly didn't remove it until contacted by police. None of the 200 or so people who watched it live reported it.
The video has since been declared objectionable by the Chief Censor, making it an offence to possess or distribute.