Facebook Called Out As ‘Morally Bankrupt’ By New Zealand Privacy Commissioner

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As Facebook continues in its efforts to rehabilitate a badly tarnished image in the wake of several high-profile scandals across the globe, the tech giant is finding that not all are willing to allow issues that have seen the rise in accusations that the social media platform has undermined democracy become a thing of the past.

The New Zealand Herald has reported that John Edwards, the country’s privacy commissioner, leveled a scathing attack on the company over a now-deleted tweet on Sunday night.

“Facebook cannot be trusted. They are morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar), facilitate foreign undermining of democratic institutions.”

Edwards went on to follow up that tweet with another.

“[They] allow the live streaming of suicides, rapes, and murders, continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target ‘Jew haters’ and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm. They #DontGiveAZuck.”

The wide availability of the video of the Christchurch mosque shooting, which was the deadliest mass shooting in modern New Zealand history and live-streamed on Facebook, has drawn considerable criticism from across the globe. The company has also been denounced in New Zealand for its unwillingness to provide the police with the names of its users who have shared the clip of the attack, which has been deemed illegal to view or share after it was banned by the New Zealand Chief Censor.

According to a report by CNBC, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to suggestions of a delay or review of its Facebook Live streaming service by saying it was an initiative that would “break” the service.

While acknowledging that the artificial intelligence that is currently used by the company to flag offensive and disturbing content needs to be improved, Zuckerberg went on to say, “But it would also fundamentally break what live-streaming is for people. Most people are live-streaming a birthday party or hanging out with friends when they can’t be together… You’re not just broadcasting, you’re communicating, and people are commenting back. So if you had a delay [it] would break that.”

In response to Zuckerberg’s reasoning in not implementing a delay, Edwards made an appearance on Radio New Zealand where he called the Facebook CEO’s statement “disingenuous” and criticized the company for being unable to document how often a suicide, murder, or sexual assault was live-streamed on the service. Edwards said that he had sought out the information previously, but the tech giant either does not keep a record of the occurrence or was unwilling to provide him with the statistics.