15 Oct 2020

Advance NZ Party's Facebook account closed after breaches

5:33 pm on 15 October 2020

Advance New Zealand's Facebook account has been removed for repeatedly breaching the social media giant's misinformation policies.

Advance NZ co-leader Billy Te Kahika outside the High Court at Auckland.

Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

The page was shut down this afternoon as Advance NZ co-leader Billy Te Kahika was conducting a live stream, according to The Spinoff.

A Facebook spokesperson told RNZ: "We don't allow anyone to share misinformation on our platforms about Covid-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm. We have clear policies against this type of content and will enforce on these policies regardless of anyone's political position or party affiliation.

"We removed Advance New Zealand / New Zealand Public Party's Facebook page for repeated violations of this policy."

It did not point to any specific content that had breached its community standards.

Advance NZ says it wants an inquiry into what it calls "Facebook's election interference".

"If Facebook wants advertising revenue from New Zealanders, then Facebook must recognise free speech in our nation," Te Kahika says.

Facebook says it doesn't think it's appropriate for a private company like itself to "referee political debates and prevent the speech of a New Zealand politician from reaching New Zealanders".

That means what they say can be subject to public debate and scrutiny, the social media giant says.

"However, if a politician shares previously fact-checked content including links, videos and photos, we will reduce the distribution of the post, display verified information from fact-checkers, and prevent it from being shared in ads."

Covid-19 misinformation

Facebook says:

  • We will remove Covid-19 misinformation that could contribute to imminent physical harm including false claims about cures, treatments, the availability of essential services or the location and severity of the outbreak
  • We're focusing on claims where, if someone relies on the information, it makes them more likely to get sick or not get treatment.
  • This includes claims related to false cures or prevention methods - like drinking bleach cures Covid-19 or suggesting that physical distancing doesn't work - or claims that discourage treatment or create confusion about health resources that are available
  • We expanded this policy to remove misinformation that claims 5G technology causes the symptoms of or contraction of Covid-19 and we're removing content that encourages attacks on 5G masts

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