New Zealand Brands Suspend Ads on Facebook and Google Following Christchurch Terrorist Attack

The hope is that the pressure will spark a change

Banking and other New Zealand brands are pulling their ads off Facebook and Google. Getty Images
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

While it remains to be seen if advertisers around the globe will follow, brands in New Zealand—including ASB Bank, fast-food chain Burger King and telecommunications company Spark—have reportedly pulled ads from Facebook and Google in the wake of the Christchurch shooting.

That’s according to The New Zealand Herald, which said the companies are banding together “to take a stand against the harm caused by unmoderated content” and to encourage tech companies to take action. However, The Herald said it’s not clear how long the boycott will last.

Brands like Kiwibank, ANZ Bank New Zealand, banking company Bank of New Zealand and Lotto New Zealand have also pulled digital advertising since Friday, The Herald said.

Facebook and Google did not respond to requests for comment.

The Association of New Zealand Advertisers and the Commercial Communications Council issued a statement calling on brands to think about where they spend their advertising dollars.

“We challenge Facebook and other platform owners to immediately take steps to effectively moderate hate content before another tragedy can be streamed online,” the statement said, noting the organizations intend to work on what else advertisers, agencies, platform owners and global partners can do.

They also questioned the role ad-funded social media played in the shooting.

“Businesses are already asking if they wish to be associated with social media platforms unable or unwilling to take responsibility for content on those sites,” the statement said. “The events in Christchurch raise the question, ‘If the site owners can target consumers with advertising in microseconds, why can’t the same technology be applied to prevent this kind of content being streamed live?’”

@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.