NZ firms with investments in social media giants call for responsibility

8:24 pm on 20 March 2019

New Zealand's investment funds, like New Zealand Super and ACC, are condemning the role of social media giants in spreading terror following Friday's attacks in Christchurch.

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Photo: 123RF

Five funds, worth more than $90 billion, are joining New Zealand's telecommunications companies in demanding action from global companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter to stop the spread of harmful content.

Chief executive of the New Zealand Super Fund Matt Whinery said they'd all been "shocked and outraged" by the transmission this terror has had on social media.

"These companies' social licence to operate has been severely damaged. We will be calling on Facebook, Google and Twitter to take more responsibility for what is published on their platforms," he said.

"They must take action to prevent this sort of material being uploaded and shared on social media. An urgent remedy to this problem is required."

The fund currently has around $170 million invested in Facebook stocks alone, and the suggestion is that could be pulled if no responsibility is taken.

"Our responsible investment decisions are guided by New Zealand law and major policy positions of the New Zealand Government. We are therefore also investigating whether there have been breaches of any New Zealand laws or regulations by these companies, and monitoring potential changes to government policy."

Mr Whinery said they're in the process of contacting other New Zealand and leading global investors, seeking support for this initiative.

The funds "putting their investment heft" behind the call to action include the New Zealand Super Fund, Accident Compensation Corporation, Government Superannuation Fund Authority, National Provident Fund and Kiwi Wealth.

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