Tech giants strike deal with leaders to curb extremism

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Jacinda Ardern at the Elysee Palace in Paris France

Mustafa Yalcin Anadolu Agency GettyFrench President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Jacinda Ardern at the Elysee Palace in Paris France

On May 15, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron brought together government leaders and representatives of technology companies to announce the "Christchurch Call to Action To Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online".

Ardern is playing a central role in Wednesday's meetings in Paris, which she called a significant "starting point" for changes in government and tech industry policy. If a user were to post a harmful link on their profile, like content which leads to a terrorist website, they would be banned from live-streaming as well. In the first 24 hours after the Christchurch attack, Facebook removed the shooter's video 1.5 million times as people continuously uploaded it. She wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times in which she said social media needs to find a balance between freedom and broadcasting terrorism.

"Macron was one of the first leaders to call the prime minister after the attack, and he has long made removing hateful online content a priority", New Zealand's ambassador to France, Jane Coombs, told journalists on Monday.

Officials from the U.S., Canada and Britain are expected to be at the summit, as well as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and staff from Facebook, Amazon and Google, The Washington Post reports. Leading technology companies, including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, have also signed on.

In addition to the commitments announced Wednesday, the companies participating plan to develop open-source or shared tools for detecting violent content across their platforms. The social media platform also will be investing US$7.5 million (~31.3 million) in these research. "This was tragically highlighted by the terrorist attacks of 15 March 2019 on the Muslim community of Christchurch - terrorist attacks that were created to go viral". Four of the five deadliest mass shootings in American history have taken place since 2012, including the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino shooting of October 1, 2017, in which 59 people were killed and more than 500 were injured.

A "one-strike" policy at Facebook Live will be applied to a broader range of offences, with those who violate serious policies suspended from using the feature after a single offence. She said that New Zealanders mostly agree with the new legislation. They did not say what rules he had previously broken. "New Zealand's Muslim community be attacked in that way, the only answer was to do everything we could to prevent it from ever happening again", Ardern said. "I really want to thank you for that", Trudeau said.

"Can you imagine trying to get TV or radio to prevent libellous, abusive or violent speech that someone might say?" he asked.

Top officials from United States tech giants Wikipedia, Uber, Twitter, Microsoft and Google attended, but not Facebook chief Zuckerberg, who met privately with Macron last week.

Critics of the administration see this balking over the Christchurch Call as just more evidence that Trump wants to stand apart from our European allies, and make sure his base knows that he wants to protect their right to say offensive - and/or unsafe - things online.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she does "not understand" why the United States has not passed stronger gun laws in the aftermath of mass shooting events. President Trump has regularly called for news outlets that he doesn't like to be investigated.

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