France, NZ seek to curb online extremism
Sydney, April 24 (IANS) New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said the country will join forces with France against the use of social media to organise and promote terrorism.
Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron will chair a meeting in Paris with representatives of countries and technology companies to seek their agreement to a pledge called "Christchurch Call" to eliminate violent extremist content online, Efe news reported.
The meeting will take place on May 15, exactly two months after the attack on two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch, in which 50 people were killed and which was broadcast live through Facebook by the attacker.
Ardern denounced the "unprecedented" use of social media as a tool to promote terrorism and hate in that attack and called for a "show of leadership" to ensure social media is never used in that way again.
"We all need to act, and that includes social media providers taking more responsibility for the content that is on their platforms, and taking action so that violent extremist content cannot be published and shared," she said in a statement.
"It’s critical that technology platforms like Facebook are not perverted as a tool for terrorism, and instead become part of a global solution to countering extremism. This meeting presents an opportunity for an act of unity between governments and the tech companies," she added.
The meeting in Paris will be held alongside the "Tech for Humanity" meeting of G7 Digital Ministers, of which France is the Chair, and France’s separate "Tech for Good" summit, both scheduled on May 15.
Australian national Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old white supremacist, is the suspect in the March 15 Christchurch attack, during which he fired at people while they were praying.
Facebook took down 1.5 million copies of the video in the 24 hours after the attack, while YouTube announced that it had removed tens of thousands of videos of the assault – an "unprecedented" number in terms of its reach and the speed with which it spread online.