New Zealand Super Leads Christchurch Charge Against Tech Lords

National five-fund coalition targets Facebook, Google, and Twitter’s ‘severely damaged’ content-sharing functions.

An investor group spearheaded by the New Zealand Superannuation Fund ($27.8 billion) is demanding Facebook, Twitter, and Google take responsibility for their practices that led to the live-streaming and sharing of the Christchurch terror attacks.

The Super Fund’s union, which includes the Accident Compensation Corp., Government Superannuation Fund Authority, National Provident Fund, and Kiwi Wealth, want other local and global institutional investors to flex their proxy muscles to ensure the tech monoliths tighten their filters on what can be shared across their servers.

“We have been profoundly shocked and outraged by the Christchurch terror attacks and their transmission on social media,” said Matt Whineray, New Zealand Super Fund’s chief executive officer, who added that Facebook, Twitter, and Google have “severely damaged” their reputations. “They must take action to prevent this sort of material being uploaded and shared on social media.”

The five New Zealand public institution team manages more than $60 billion in total assets.

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In the Christchurch terror attack, the alleged killer posted a testimony to Facebook and broadcast live footage of shootings in two Christchurch mosques, which left 50 dead. Users of Twitter and Google-owned YouTube spread the footage there and to other sites. The New Zealand funds are urging for more information from the tech kings on how they monitor and censor extremist content.

“Our responsible investment decisions are guided by New Zealand law and major policy positions of the New Zealand Government. We are therefore also investigating whether there have been breaches of any New Zealand laws or regulations by these companies, and monitoring potential changes to Government policy.”

Speaking of government policy, New Zealand recently banned semi-automatic weapons. The Super Fund and retirement contribution provider KiwiSaver have been preparing themselves to reduce their exposures to gun-related investments in accordance with changes, expected to take hold April 11.

Similar campaigns have been launched against big tech over the past year by other large public institutions, including New York City’s $186.3 billion pension funds. The five plan system’s October crusade backed a proposal from activist hedge fund Trillium Asset Management calling for Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to remove himself as board chair in response to a massive data scandal within the company. “An independent board chair is essential to moving Facebook forward from this mess, and to re-establish trust with Americans and investors alike,” said New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.

In protest to the social networks’ scandal, Chris Ailman, chief investment officer of the California State Teachers Retirement System, publicly deleted his Facebook account. His reasons, cited on Twitter, were the company’s “lack of oversight” and “poor management.”

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