Election 2020: Facebook removes Advance NZ page for repeatedly sharing misinformation

The Advance NZ party’s Facebook page has been removed from the social media site.

A Facebook spokesperson said the party’s page had repeatedly broken rules around sharing Covid-19 misinformation.

“We don’t allow anyone to share misinformation on our platforms about Covid-19 that could lead to imminent physical harm,” the company said in a statement.

“We have clear policies against this type of content and will enforce on these policies regardless of anyone’s political position or party affiliation.

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“We removed Advance New Zealand / New Zealand Public Party’s Facebook Page for repeated violations of this policy.”

Party co-leader Billy Te Kahika confirmed that the page had been unpublished in a statement on Thursday, saying he was “horrified”.

“If Facebook wants advertising revenue from New Zealanders, then Facebook must recognise free speech in our nation,” he said.

A Stuff Circuit investigation, False Profit, recently raised concerns about Te Kahika's campaign message of truth.

Te Kahika, who is co-leader of Advance NZ and the leader of his own party, New Zealand Public Party, is campaigning on a platform of honesty, transparency, and accountability, but the party has been accused of spreading misinformation around Covid-19, as well as other conspiracy theories.

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A recent study by Victoria University election researchers suggested 31 per cent of Advance NZ Facebook posts were considered half-truths, and 6 per cent entirely fake.

Facebook says that it removes Covid-19 misinformation “that could contribute to imminent physical harm including false claims about cures, treatments, the availability of essential services or the location and severity of the outbreak”.

It says it focuses on claims where, if someone relies on the information, it makes them more likely to get sick or not get treatment.

It also removes false claims that 5G technology causes the symptoms of or contraction of Covid-19 or encourages attacks on 5G masts.

Yesterday, the social media giant also said it was taking action against anti-vaccination adverts.