Published: Thu, May 16, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Macron and Ardern seek pledge to eliminate violent content online

Macron and Ardern seek pledge to eliminate violent content online

Under the new policy, the alleged Christchurch shooter would not have been able to livestream the massacre from his account in March, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business.

The "Christchurch call to action" is an anti-extremism initiative headed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Ardern said multiple edited and versions of the March 15 massacre quickly spread online, and the take down was slow. The footage was picked up by some worldwide media outlets who initially published excerpts of the video and links to the gunman's extremist "manifesto" before quickly dropping them in the face of political and public outrage. However, the company did not specify what actions could lead to a strike, or how long it might last.

While Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said livestreaming safeguards would be explored, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has already said that putting a delay on livestreams would fundamentally break the service.

The text of the initiative outlines "collective, voluntary commitments" from governments and internet companies.

The summit in Paris begins Wednesday and was organized by Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.

A total of 18 governments signed the call: Australia, Canada, the European Commission, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

The White House said it would not endorse Ardern's initiative, although it supported the broader aims. While the administration supports the document's goals, it fears some of its language would run counter to the Constitution's First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, according to two people familiar with the deliberations but not authorised to discuss them on the record.

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"We hope it will also help us to more effectively fight organised bad actors who try to outwit our systems as we saw happen after the Christchurch attack".

The attack was live-streamed on Facebook - and the footage was widely shared - sparking wide-ranging condemnation of social media networks' ability to control the content shared on their platforms. "There was one upload per second to YouTube in the first 24 hours".

"Today must be day one of change".

Ending that threat, she added, necessitates collaboration-thus the Christchurch Call. Now, users who violate Facebook's "most serious policies" - such as sharing a link to statements from a known terrorist group - would be banned from broadcasting live videos on the platform for set periods of time.

Macron said things were moving in the right direction and the presence of the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and his "personal engagement" was encouraging. "The fact the USA administration has said it shares our objectives is a positive element", Macron said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed Facebook's pledge to restrict some users from Facebook Live and invest $7.5 million in research to stay ahead of users' attempts to avoid detection.

"We, along with our law enforcement partners, face significant challenges in identifying and disrupting [homegrown violent extremists] and domestic terrorists who seek to perform terrorist attacks within the United States", McGarrity said during the hearing on domestic terrorism.

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