U.S. says it will not join Christchurch Call against online terror

16 May, 2019, 07:30 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Jacinda Ardern,PM Jacinda Ardern,New Zealand

Major tech companies have pledged to review the way their algorithms are funnelling users toward extremist content and to share their findings with each other, as part of the agreement reached overnight, reports RNZ's Jo Moir from Paris.

Headed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron the Christchurch call is bringing world leaders and technology leaders together in Paris.

A self-described white supremacist gunned down 51 people at two Christchurch mosques in March, and broadcast live footage of the violence on Facebook from a head-mounted camera.

"The Governments, commit to Counter the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of our societies to enable them to resist terrorist and violent extremist ideologies, including through education, building media literacy to help counter distorted terrorist and violent extremist narratives, and the fight against inequality", the declaration (Christchurch Call) adopted.

The attacker streamed the killing live on Facebook, which announced tougher livestreaming policies on the eve of the meetings "to limit our services from being used to cause harm or spread hate".

"From now on, anyone who violates our most serious policies will be restricted from using Live for set periods of time - for example 30 days - starting on their first offence", Rosen continued. Facebook was able to purge 1.5 million uploads of the video and 1.2 million were blocked before going live on the platform.

Additionally, Facebook also announced it would invest $7.5 million into new research partnerships with the University of Maryland, Cornell University, and the University of California, Berkeley, that are created to improve image and video analysis technology so it can also find videos that have been modified to avoid detection.

Those attending the summit pledged to implement new measures aimed at suppressing violent or extremist content. However, as a voluntary initiative it is for individual countries and companies to decide how to honour their pledge.

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Without impinging on First Amendment rights, surely the White House can find some middle ground and join the Christchurch Call, as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitteralso did.

NZ Super Fund chief executive Matt Whineray said they expected to see stronger controls from tech companies to prevent objectionable content being posted online.

The social media platform is introducing a "one-strike" policy for its Facebook Live feature, which will temporarily restrict access for users who have broken the social network's guidelines and faced disciplinary action, the company said in a statement.

Ardern said today she was encouraged by Facebook's move.

Previously, users who posted a link to content from any of those groups, or expressed support for them, may have gotten a simple slap on the wrist, and the company may have removed the posting in question. Tech giants will be asked to agree to a "Christchurch Call", to more aggressively combat violent content, according to the New York Times.

The companies also published nine stepsthey'll take to implement the Christchurch Call.

Large social media companies, facing fierce criticism, have hired more content reviewers, altered their standards and banned some prominent figures known for promulgating conspiracy theories and hateful content.


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