Christchurch terror attack: Photo of alleged gunman appears in Twitter trends section, breaching suppression order

Online juggernaut Twitter has acted to ensure photos of the alleged Christchurch terror attack gunman cannot appear in its trends section again.

A photo of the alleged gunman was trending in New Zealand on Tuesday night - attached to an article from

Publishing the suspect's image has been banned since he first appeared in Court on March 16.

Newshub understands after becoming aware of the incident, Twitter took immediate action to ensure the alleged gunman's photo could no longer be seen in the section which is viewed by Kiwi audiences.  

A trend on Twitter refers to a topic which is popular at the time, and is driven by who a user follows, and their location and interests.

Twitter is making its commitment to the Christchurch Call, along with its partnering companies.

Changes will include updating its terms of use, establishing more than one method for users to report inappropriate content, investing in technology to detect and remove violent extremist content online, and identifying appropriate checks on livestreaming.

A Twitter spokeswoman directed further information to the commitments the company made at the Christchurch Call.

Sixteen countries and eight of the technology industry's biggest firms and websites joined a New Zealand-led effort to eliminate terrorist content from the internet.

Twitter, the European Commission, Amazon, Facebook, Dailymotion, Google, Microsoft, Qwant, and YouTube, signed onto Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Christchurch Call at a summit in Paris.

Christchurch terror attack: Photo of alleged gunman appears in Twitter trends section, breaching suppression order
Photo credit: Newshub.

Justice Minister Andrew Little was unavailable for comment and the Ministry of Justice directed Newshub to the court's orders relating to images of the alleged gunman.

In December, Google was forced to review its systems after naming the alleged killer of Grace Millane in an email.

Google said at the time it respected New Zealand law and would "respond to court orders when we get them.''

At least one overseas media outlet published the 26-year-old's name after his first court appearance, and while the name was later removed from the online article, it spread via social media.

"The suppression orders handed down by the New Zealand court have to be adhered to in New Zealand," Little said in December.