Christchurch terror attack: PM Jacinda Ardern puts Facebook, Fraser Anning on notice

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

Using a GoPro camera, the terrorist broadcast extremely graphic footage him shooting people at the Al Noor Mosque via Facebook Live. The livestream was available to watch on social media for hours after the attack.

Newshub has chosen not to publish the footage, as have many other media outlets.

In a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Ardern said the New Zealand Government did its best to take down the video, but its power to do so is limited.

"We did as much as we could to remove or seek to have removed some of the footage that was being circulated in the aftermath of this terrorist attack. Ultimately, though, it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal and support their removal."

She indicated disapproval at social media giants such as Facebook for allowing graphic content to be uploaded and shared widely.

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

"This is a problem that goes well beyond New Zealand, it has played out in other parts of the world. So whilst we might have seen action taken here, that hasn't prevented [the footage] being circulated beyond New Zealand shores.

"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."

Ardern says in the wake of the Christchurch attacks, she's been contacted by Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

"I haven't spoken to her directly, but she has reached out in acknowledgement of what has occurred here in New Zealand. This is an issue that I will look to be discussing directly with Facebook."

She says Sandberg expressed her condolences for the 50 people who were killed, but they have yet to have a "substantive" discussion on the matter.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive officer, has yet to publicly comment on attack. Ardern wouldn't comment on his silence, saying it wasn't for her to dictate how other people responded.

During the press conference, Ardern was also asked about the comments made by Australian senator Fraser Anning, who said Muslim immigration was to blame for Friday's shooting.

Anning's remarks were widely condemned and he was publicly egged by a teenage boy who has since been hailed as a hero.

When asked for her reaction to Anning's comments, Ardern was blunt.

"They were a disgrace."