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Tech companies and 16 countries sign up to Christchurch Call

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 3 days ago
French President Emmanuel Macron with New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. © Reuters French President Emmanuel Macron with New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Tech company and world leaders have signed an unprecedented Christchurch Call agreement to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

The meeting, the first of its kind, in Paris overnight saw all of the major technology companies, sixteen countries and the European Commission sign up to the call initiated by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the French President Emmanuel Macron in the wake of the Christchurch attack that killed 51 people.

The action plan asks tech companies to review the operation of their algorithms that are driving users towards or amplifying terrorist content online and find ways to intervene earlier.

In order to try and prevent an attack like the one at Christchurch ever happening again, tech companies have agreed to share the effects of algorithim secrets with each other.

Ms Ardern has called on them to report progress regularly to governments.

New Zealand and global investors worth more than five trillion NZ-dollars are uniting to put pressure on companies who have signed up to the Christchurch Call.

Launched alongside the summit in Paris overnight, the New Zealand Super Fund has coordinated the investor group, worth more than fifteen times the GDP of the New Zealand economy.

The group wants to get Facebook, Twitter and Google - who all have social media platforms - to strengthen controls that will prevent the live streaming and distribution of objectionable content.

They plan to raise concerns with the companies' board and management on these issues.

The investor group is made up of 55 funds - 27 from New Zealand and 28 from across the globe.

New Zealand banks, ACC, and global trusts and pension funds make up the group.

The United States has snubbed the Christchurch Call summit by not attending or endorsing the agreement.

In a statement from the White House, a spokesperson says the US stands with the international community in condemning terrorist and violent extremist content online in the strongest terms.

But it said the US was not currently in a position to join the agreement, although it supported its overall goals.

It said promoting credible, alternative narratives was the best way to defeat terrorist messaging.

Pictures: Lives forever changed by Christchurch shootings

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