World tech giants vows support for NZ Christchurch Call to counter online extremism

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San Francisco, May 16: Tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Amazon have come out in support of New Zealand’s Christchurch Call which aims to address terrorist and violent content online via a nine-point plan.

“The terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March were a horrifying tragedy. And so it is right that we come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence,” the tech companies said in a joint statement on late Wednesday.

The White House, however, announced that it would not be endorsing a call from international leaders to combat online extremism as a response to Christchurch terror attack in New Zealand.

In a statement, the White House said that it “was not currently in a position to join the endorsement.”

After the New Zealand attacks at two mosques in Christchurch city that claimed 51 lives in March, Facebook claimed it removed 1.5 million videos of the attacks within the first 24 hours itself. It also said it blocked 1.2 million of them at upload, meaning they would not have been seen by users.

Facebook’s Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg joined G7 government and industry leaders on Wednesday for a meeting in Paris on how to curb the spread of terrorism and extremism online.

At the meeting, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Facebook along with Microsoft, Twitter, Google and Amazon signed up to the Christchurch Call to Action.

“We are sharing concrete steps we will take that address the abuse of technology to spread terrorist content, including continued investment in technology that improves our capability to detect and remove this content from our services, updates to our individual terms of use, and more transparency for content policies and removals,” said the companies.

As part of collaborative actions, the companies would develop a shared understanding of the contexts in which terrorist and violent extremist content are published and to improve technology to detect and remove terrorist and violent extremist content more effectively and efficiently.

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