International effort needed to rein in social media terror - expert

International cooperation will be crucial to help prevent terrorist material and ideas from circulating on social media, according to a prominent sociologist.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is heading to Paris this weekend to talk with President Emmanuel Macron, to end the promotion of extremist content online.

Massey University Professor Paul Spoonley says clear laws are needed.

"A country like New Zealand really hasn't seen that legislation. We have NetSafe, who do their best, but we can't do it by ourselves. International cooperation is essential."

The meetings were sparked after the Christchurch mosque attack was streamed online over Facebook's Live service, and has continued to circulate since.

Spoonley says a crackdown could have unintended consequences, however.

"There is a concern is what you do is regulate the major platforms, but then everything moves to the dark web - that is a possibility."

Paul Spoonley.
Paul Spoonley. Photo credit: The AM Show

Spoonley says despite this, it's important for big websites to regulated so the wider audience isn't exposed to it.

Regulations will need to be clear and international in nature, says Spoonley.

"Are you going to be able to develop a system which firstly identifies the content, then secondly, what happens if a media platform doesn't abide by what you want them to do?"

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg met with Macron ahead of the summit.

"If more countries can follow the lead of what your government has done here, that will likely end up being a more positive outcome for the world in my view than some of the alternatives," Zuckerberg said afterwards.