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New Zealand and France to end online extremism

Two countries are coming together to end the use of social media for terrorism and extremism.

According to a recent press release, New Zealand and France will gather together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring an end of the ability to use social media platforms to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism.

This initiative comes in the wake of the 15 March 2019 terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Details of the Meeting

The meeting will be co-chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the French President Emmanuel Macron and will take place in Paris on 15 May 2019.

The goal of the meeting is to see various world leaders as well as Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of tech companies agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’ to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister is scheduled to meet with the civil society leaders on the 14th of May, to discuss the content of the Call.

According to the Prime Minister, “The 15 March terrorist attacks saw social media used in an unprecedented way as a tool to promote an act of terrorism and hate. We are asking for a show of leadership to ensure social media cannot be used again the way it was in the 15 March terrorist attack.”

Everyone needs to act, including social media providers who should take more responsibility for the content on their platforms. They also need to take action so that violent extremist content cannot be published and shared.

It is critical that technology platforms are not perverted as a tool for terrorism, and instead become part of a global solution to countering extremism.

Leaders of the tech companies are being called to join and help achieve the goal of eliminating violent extremism online at the Christchurch Summit in Paris.

This meeting presents an opportunity for an act of unity between governments and the tech companies.

The Prime Minister explained that social media platforms can connect people in many very positive ways, and they want this to continue.

However, she added, “For too long, it has also been possible to use these platforms to incite extremist violence, and even to distribute images of that violence, as what happened with Christchurch. This is what needs to change.”

Working together is the key

In the wake of the Christchurch attack, New Zealanders are united with a common purpose of guaranteeing that such attacks never occur again.

Preventing violent extremist content online requires a global approach that involves other governments, tech companies and civil society leaders.

Aside from this meeting, other events are also slated to happen on 15 May. There is the “Tech for Humanity” meeting of the G7 Digital Ministers, of which France serves as the Chair; and France’s separate “Tech for Good” summit.


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