Social media collaborative engagement
In response to the 15 March 2019 Christchurch mosque terror attacks that killed 51 and injured 40 people, New Zealand’s government-owned investors, supported by 105 global investors representing approximately NZD$13.5 trillion, began a collaborative effort to engage the world’s three largest social media companies (Facebook, Alphabet and Twitter) to strengthen controls to prevent the livestreaming and dissemination of objectionable content.
That engagement has now concluded with the release of an independent external research report, which examined whether changes made by the companies are appropriate for the scale of the problem. The research also took a look into the different types of emerging regulation on this issue.
The research was undertaken by a New Zealand based consultancy Brainbox Institute, which specialises in analysis of issues at the intersection of technology, politics, law and policy.
Brainbox found that the measures put in place by the platforms are likely to be highly effective in mitigating the scale in which objectionable content of a similar type to the Christchurch terror attack, can be disseminated online. It also noted, however, that it is unlikely the platforms will be able to entirely prevent a similar type of incident in the future.
Conclusion note on the collaborative engagement
Announcement to mark the end of the engagement
Our thoughts remain with the victims of that horrific act. May they rest in peace.
OPEN LETTER TO THE BOARD MEMBERS AND EXECUTIVES OF FACEBOOK, ALPHABET AND TWITTER
More than one hundred investors representing approximately USD7.5 trillion of assets-under-management* have joined a global collaboration to encourage Facebook, Alphabet and Twitter to strengthen controls to prevent the livestreaming and dissemination of objectionable content. The initiative will continue to accept new signatories until these companies take meaningful action.
20 March 2020
Dear Board members and executives of the social media companies:
Almost exactly one year ago, 51 people were killed by a gunman in two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand while they worshipped. It was an act that was livestreamed and disseminated across your respective platforms. Our hearts remain with the victims, their families and loved ones and all those affected by this horrific act.
This investor collaboration has made its voice known to you over the year since the atrocity in Christchurch. As owners of your companies, we welcome the changes you’ve made to your platforms and the industry collaboration that has occurred via the Christchurch Call. Mass shootings have, however, continued to be disseminated across your platforms, including via livestream (for example, the recent mass shootings in Thailand and Germany). They remain open to abuse.
It is time that your respective organisations acknowledge the influence you have within society and embrace the responsibility that comes with this.
Our request includes:
- clear lines of governance and accountability for senior executives and Board members to ensure your platforms cannot be used to promote objectionable content like the livestreaming and dissemination of the Christchurch shootings; and
- sufficient resources being dedicated to combating the livestreaming and spread of objectionable material across your platforms.
We encourage and expect modernisation of legislation to protect the public from exposure to similar content in the future. Policy must be built on robust evidence and for this we need you to be open about how your platforms are built and operated.
Perpetrators of crime cannot be permitted to weaponise their actions via your platforms.
To date, we have been dissatisfied with the response from your senior executives and Boards to us. The failure to respond to these actions creates a significant business risk, beyond the harm caused to the global community. You have a duty to address that. We remain open to continued engagement. Our expectation is that you will take responsibility for and fully address this issue.
ACSI, Adrian Dominican Sisters, AQR Capital Management, Australian Ethical Aviva Investors, Axa Investment Managers, BMO Global Asset Management, Bon Secours Mercy Health, Brunel Pension Partnership, Cadmos Peace Investment Fund, Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc. (CBIS), Church of England Pensions Board, Church Commissioners for England, Congregation of St. Joseph, Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise, De Pury Pictet Turrettini & Cie, Dignity Health, Domini Impact Investments, ECO Advisors, Ethical Partners Funds Management, EOS at Federated Hermes, HESTA, HSBC Global Asset Management, Legal & General Investment Management, LGPS Central, LG Super, Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF), Mercy Investment Services, Inc., Mirova, NEI Investments Neuberger Berman, Newton Investment Management, Nomura Asset Management, Northern Trust Asset Management, Öhman, OPTrust, Pantheon Ventures, River and Mercantile, Robeco, Regroupement pour la Responsabilité Sociale des Entreprises (RRSE), U Ethical, USS Investment Management, VFMC, VicSuper, West Midlands Pension Fund, New Zealand Super Fund, Accident Compensation Corporation, Government Superannuation Fund, National Provident Fund, Kiwi Wealth, ANZ New Zealand Investments, ASB, BNZ, Booster, Fisher Funds, Foundation North, Generate Investment Management, Harbour Asset Management, Investment Services Group (Devon Funds, JMI Wealth, Select Wealth and Clarity Funds), IWIinvestor, JBWere NZ, MAS, Mercer (NZ and Global), Milford Asset Management, Mint Asset Management, MyFiduciary Limited, NZ Funds, Pathfinder / CareSaver KiwiSaver, PIE Funds/JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme, Rātā Foundation, Salt Funds Management, Trust Investments Management Limited, Wellington Free Ambulance Service, Westpac / BT Funds Management.
*As at 31 December 2019
To formally join, please email NZ Super Fund at [email protected] with:
- The name of the entity that will be joining the collaboration. Please confirm that this organisation is happy to be publically named as a participant.
- The organisation’s total assets under management. Please note that this will be kept confidential and is only used for aggregation purposes.
- Please confirm who will be the main point for contact on this engagement.
Leaders Group (NZ Crown-owned investors)
NZ Super Fund (NZSF)
Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)
Government Superannuation Fund (GSF)
National Provident Fund (NPF)
Kiwi Wealth (KW)
Confirmed Participants – New Zealand
AMP Financial Services
ANZ New Zealand Investments
Generate Investment Management
Harbour Asset Management
H.R.L. Morrison & Co Limited
Investment Services Group (Devon Funds, JMI Wealth, Select Wealth and Clarity Funds)
Milford Asset Management
Mint Asset Management
Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Limited
PIE Funds/JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme
Salt Funds Management
Tauhara North No2 Trust
Trust Investments Management Limited
Westpac / BT Funds Management
Confirmed Participants – International
Aberdeen Standard Investments
Adrian Dominican Sisters, Portfolio Advisory Board
AMP Capital (NZ and International)
Apostle Funds Management
AQR Capital Management
Axa Investment Managers
Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK)
BMO Global Asset Management
Bon Secours Mercy Health
Brunel Pension Partnership
Cadmos Peace Investment Fund
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Christian Brothers Investment Services
Church of England Pensions Board
Common Interests Financial
Congregation of St. Joseph
Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise
Domini Impact Investments
First Sentier Investors
Greater Manchester Pension Fund
Hermes Investment Management
HSBC Global Asset Management
Investec Asset Management
Irish Life Investment Managers
Legal & General Investment Management
Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF)
Mercer Global (including NZ)
Mercy Investment Services, Inc.
Merseyside Pension Fund
The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST)
Newton Investment Management
Nomura Asset Management
Northern Trust Asset Management
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Oregon State Treasury
Providence St. Joseph Health
River and Mercantile
U Ethical Investors
USS Investment Management
Utilities of Australia Pty Ltd
West Midlands Pension Fund
West Yorkshire Pension Fund