Billy Te Kiha leads an NZ Public Party protest at Parliament in August

Facebook has removed a video produced by the New Zealand Advance Party and the New Zealand Public Party claiming that Parliament has legislated for forced Covid-19 vaccinations.

This is believed to be the first time Facebook has agreed to remove a video using Parliamentary footage.

The removal was requested by Speaker, Trevor Mallard, who said, in a letter to Facebook, that the video,  “Say No to Labour’s Forced Vaccination Agenda” used excerpts of official footage of New Zealand parliamentary debates which purported to show that forced vaccination had been legislated for.

“The video is misleading in that it does not accurately reflect the content of the debate in question,” he said.

“No such law has been passed.”

On 27 August Mallard made a direction under Standing Orders that the use of the coverage be stopped.

“That direction has been unanimously upheld by all parties represented in the House of Representatives, who found that the video represents a blatant doctoring of Parliament’s proceedings that is intended to mislead viewers by implying a proposal for compulsory vaccination of New Zealanders,” he said.

“Misleading information about vaccines is particularly concerning during the current global pandemic.”

Facebook’s Director – Public Policy Australia, New Zealand & Pacific Islands, Mia Garlick, said Facebook was committed to fighting the spread of false news on its services.

“Our approach is multi-faceted and includes finding and removing fake accounts, reducing misinformation, disrupting bad actors, increasing ads transparency and investing in media literacy campaigns.

We know how important these efforts are as we work through a global pandemic and are working hard to reduce the spread of harmful misinformation on our platform.”

She said Facebook firstly removed content and actors that violate facebook’s Community Standards, which enforced the safety and security of Facebook.— “For example, we now disable more than a million fake accounts a day.”

“In addition to our misinformation measures and Community Standards, we strive to respect local laws and regulations,” she said.

“In relation to the content you have raised with us, on this occasion, we have taken action on the content in question, and it is not available in New Zealand.”

The leader of the New Zealand Advance Party, Jami-Lee Ross, last night told POLITIK that he believed Facebook was now complicit in Parliamentary censorship.

“The governing party’s Speaker has used his position to censor an ad from a rival political party, and now Facebook has simply gone along with that.”

But the fact that Facebook has done it may well impose restraints in the future on both political parties and ordinary members of the public who attempt to distort Parliamentary footage.

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