Life Tech US signs up with international effort to banish extremism from online platforms

US signs up with international effort to banish extremism from online platforms

The live-streamed Christchurch massacre reignited the push to tackle online extremism. Photo: ABC
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The United States is joining the fight launched by New Zealand and France to eliminate terrorist and extremist content online.

The next Christchurch Call summit, co-chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron, will be held as a video conference on Saturday with the participation of the US, the two leaders said in a joint statement.

“The US government’s support recognises the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach to an issue that increasingly transcends borders, ideologies and nationalities, and the ability of any one group or country to address on their own,” Ms Ardern said.

“It also recognises the importance of protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms online.”

Not a ‘free speech’ issue

The French leader, whose country has suffered multiple Islamist terrorist attacks in recent years, said “hateful content” went beyond any possible ‘free speech’ defence.

“The pervasive threat of terrorist and hateful content online continues to contribute and fuel violent extremism and terrorist actions,” President Macron said.

“We believe the Call remains a cornerstone of our collective efforts against the presence online of such content.”

The first summit was held two years ago, bringing in tech companies including Facebook, YouTube and Google, after a gunman live-streamed his slaughter of 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

The shooter broadcast the massacre for 17 minutes before Facebook was alerted and managed to shut down the stream of horrific images, but clips then rapidly spread online.