Government requests urgent advice on pulling Facebook advertising spending

The Government is seeking urgent advice on whether or not to withdraw Government departments' spending with Facebook following the Christchurch terror attack.

Facebook and other online platforms have attracted criticism after struggling to prevent the spread of the killer's horrifying livestream video of the massacre.

Facebook said it removed 1.5 million copies of the video in the first 24 hours. Free mental health helpline 1737 told Newshub it's had a "number" of calls from people who needed to talk after coming across the video.

Private companies including New Zealand's largest banks have withdrawn their Facebook advertising spending, expressing their disappointment in the role of social media in the attack.

The Government has asked for urgent advice on its advertising spending with Facebook, Minister for State Services Chris Hipkins told media on Wednesday afternoon.

"[Social media platforms] are very widely used and advertising on them is an effective way to reach people," he said.

"But we also have some real concerns about the way they are operating and the way they have been used in this case and in other cases to provide a safe harbour for people who don't deserve it."

Government departments' spending on Facebook advertising is likely to be in the millions.

Hipkins said the issue will likely be considered at Cabinet on Monday.