Content removal and take-down notices

The February 2022 updates to the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 enable Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to issue take-down notices to online content hosts requiring the removal of, or the prevention of New Zealand public access to, publications that are classified as objectionable (illegal).

In most cases, where objectionable content is identified, that content already breaches an online content host’s terms of use. Online content hosts (such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) have terms of use that are stricter than the New Zealand threshold of objectionable. Therefore, referring to content that is objectionable as a breach of terms of use is usually an effective way to get that content removed.

Overview of take-down notice process

Where possible, DIA will use an online content host’s trusted flagger programme and in-platform reporting system to request the removal of objectionable (illegal) content. In instances where these mechanisms are not effective, DIA will serve a formal take-down notice. The notice will ask online content hosts to do one of two things:

1. Remove or prevent access by the public to the online publication.
2. Remove or prevent access by the public to the online publication and preserve a copy of the online publication for the purpose of an investigation or proceedings.

When a take-down notice is issued, online content hosts will be given 24 hours once the request is sent to remove or prevent access by the public to the objectionable (illegal) content.

Appeal process

An appeals process has been established which allows online content hosts to appeal a take-down notice and raise any classifications decisions with Te Mana Whakaatu the Classification Office.

For a full overview of the take-down notice process, see: Take-down Notice Guidance (PDF, 535KB)