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Masters of Spin - Facebook & the Christchurch Massacre

On this week's Masters of Spin, we discussed the challenge Facebook faces after the live streaming of the Christchurch massacre and that awkward video of the pope pulling his hand away when devotees attempt to kiss his ring.

Click watch the segment here, transcript below.


Basil Zempilas: Welcome everybody, the World Federation of Advertisers has back the New Zealand advertising industries call for global action to ensure there is no repeat of a live streaming of the Christchurch terror attack on Facebook. The country's biggest advertisers have voiced concern over the social media giant's ability to regulate live content.

Monique Wright: Facebook has said it will ban white nationalism posts in its effort to tackle hate speech. The company said it has been working on the change over the last three months. Joining us now are advertising gurus, Matthew Bywater and Jane Caro. Welcome to you both.

Basil Zempilas: Morning guys.

Monique Wright: Now Matthew, we've heard Facebook over and over saying that it has pledged to improve its ability to identify and block material from terrorist groups. Do we believe them?

Matthew Bywater: Oh, we do. And to be fair to Facebook, this is a difficult task. This is not like, not like media of old. I mean, you've got a billion plus publishers publishing every single second of the day, so it's very hard to keep hold of. They've already been through some congressional hearings, you know, in the States where they copped a lot of flack for, when there were censoring information, which side of politics it landed on and so forth. So they're trying to find this tight rope between being that sort of, democratization of the web, but also making sure we clamp down on these types of hate type speech.

Basil Zempilas: Yes. Which is all very well of course. However, we couldn't show those pictures live on Weekend Sunrise, we couldn't broadcast those pictures live on the radio. We couldn't even show a photograph on the front page of the newspaper because we're regulated.

Monique Wright: Yes.

Basil Zempilas: Are they regulated Jane?

Jane Caro: Well, it doesn't appear that they are, but I do take Matt's point that it is a very different beast. This, you know, television, old style media is centrally controlled. Whereas Facebook is controlled by its audience, so Facebook doesn't actually put out much content itself, you do, you provide the content, we watch it. We provide the content on social media and that's why it's such an anarchic space, and that's why we're struggling to get our heads around it. I don't think the legal system has kept up with it.

Monique Wright: No.

Jane Caro: I don't think society has kept up with it and I think the problem is that we're in the very... I mean I was thinking right back to the beginning of film when there was quite a lot of porn and nudity in the 1900s and 1920s, and then they brought in the Hays Code which shut everything down. And it's a bit like that. We're in the infancy of this developing, and so it's going off in all sorts of terrible directions. We've got to learn, and probably we'll go through a period where we shut a whole lot of things down that we shouldn't to get this stuff worked out.

Monique Wright: To come down to the balance.

Jane Caro: Correct.

Monique Wright: But I like that term, the democratization of the, of the internet and it is actually the people that are amongst the users that are saying, "We don't want to see this and you've got to do something about it." The pressure is coming from everyone. All right. Moving on. Did you see this during the week?

Basil Zempilas: So awful.

Monique Wright: Pope Francis had people scratching their heads this week when he repeatedly pulled his hand away as a number of people tried to kiss him the Papal ring. Now, we're told that this was because of hygiene reasons, but there has been criticism of the Pope abandoning this tradition, which has gone on for a century or... it's just awkward, isn't it Jane? Some are saying that he's meant to be a man of the people, but he is trying to modernize the Catholic church's image and this... that's terrible, isn't it?

Jane Caro: If you going to do something like this, just a heads up, tell the people who are about to approach it and say the pope would prefer if you didn't kiss his ring.

Matthew Bywater: That's right.

Jane Caro: Yeah, and then you just shake their hands and it's all looking fine. But obviously he didn't tell anyone. I don't know what happened. Did he suddenly have a little panic attack? A nervous attack? He couldn't cope? I mean, everybody's human, but it's a terrible look.

Matthew Bywater: And in a small way, Matt, we always say communication is the key. We know communication's been a big problem with the Catholic Church, full Stop. But I know that on a smallish issue like this-

Jane Caro: They don't seem to be averting eyes, no, I won't say that.

Basil Zempilas: Exactly. It just shows that they don't quite get it.

Matthew Bywater: Yeah, and it may have been for good reasons. I mean, he made be protecting the people, kissing the ring,

Monique Wright: Yeah.

Matthew Bywater: but just say it to somebody down the line.

Monique Wright: Tell someone.

Matthew Bywater: Exactly.

Monique Wright: You would think that it would be a pretty easy message to get through and go instead we're just going to get a... hold hands.

Jane Caro: You can bow, or hold hands.

Matthew Bywater: Whatever, bow and hold hands and this is what we're going to do.

Jane Caro: But I don't think it was thought through. It looks to me that something's going on inside his head that, you know, he needs the therapy. I'll recommend it for everyone.

Monique Wright: Yeah. Although at least when all the people walked away and then they said to each other, "Did he pull his hand away or was it just me?" But yeah.

Jane Caro: Is it me he didn't like?

Basil Zempilas: Why he didn't even... I know it we're taking a long time with this, but why he didn't just say, you know, almost calm them down and say, "It's okay, I'm doing it." Or keep the hand back. It was the oddest body language, the oddest visual image.

Jane Caro: Very strange.

Monique Wright: All right, thank you.

Jane Caro: No worries.

Monique Wright: But this is really riled us up.

Basil Zempilas: You have to admit though, it was one of the strangest things you have ever seen.

Monique Wright: It was. All right, Jane, Matthew, good to see you. The news is next on Weekend Sunrise, plus, Jabba general reviews the live action remake of Dumbo.