Wellington, April 24, 2019
New Zealand and France announced today that they will bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use Social Media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism, in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch.
The meeting will take place in Paris on May 15, and will be co-chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The meeting aims to see world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’ to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.
The meeting will be held alongside the “Tech for Humanity” Meeting of G7 Digital Ministers, of which France is the Chair, and France’s separate “Tech for Good” Summit, both on May 15, 2019. Ms Ardern will also meet with civil society leaders on May 14, 2019 to discuss the content of the Call.
“The March 15 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 March 15 terrorist attack. We are calling on the leaders of tech companies to join with us and help achieve our goal of eliminating violent extremism online at the Christchurch Summit in Paris,” Ms Ardern said.
Social Media Responsibility
Ms Ardern said that there was a need to act, and that includes Social Media providers taking more responsibility for the content that is on their platforms, and taking action so that violent extremist content cannot be published and shared.
“It is critical that technology platforms like Facebook are not perverted as a tool for terrorism, and instead become part of a global solution to countering extremism. This meeting presents an opportunity for an act of unity between governments and the tech companies.
“In the wake of the March 15 attacks New Zealanders united in common purpose to ensure such attacks never occur again. If we want to prevent violent extremist content online we need to take a global approach that involves other governments, tech companies and civil society leaders,” she said.
Ms Ardern said that Social Media platforms can connect people in many very positive ways, and “we all want this to continue.”
“But 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 happened in Christchurch. This is what needs to change,” she said.