On March 15, a shocking act of violent terrorism took place in the quiet city of Christchurch, New Zealand. With the brutality live-streamed to audiences around the globe through Facebook Live, the world directly shared in the pain and horror felt by the families of the victims and the Christchurch community.
In the hours and days that followed, the abhorrent crime continued to be shared by internet users, with Facebook seemingly powerless to stop the spread of the deeply distressing content.
Today, for the first time, a group of world leaders and tech companies stand united to stop the use of social media as a weapon that terrorists can use to fuel fear and hate, through the Christchurch Call. The Christchurch Call is an action plan that aims to introduce a range of measures prevent terrorists from uploading and disseminating violent extremist content via social media channels.
Through the use of new content rules, greater transparency regarding the detection and removal of violent or hate-based content and more robust algorithms 17 countries (including Australia) and the European Commission have made the pledge to make the internet safer.
Joining in the pledge were eight of the world’s tech giants, who ultimately control the platforms at the heart of the issue; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Qwant and Dailymotion.
In an official statement released today, New Zealand Prime Minister, RT Hon Jacinda Ardern, said that those who had made the pledge could be proud of the practical steps that will now be taken to make a positive impact on the future.
“We owe it to those affected by the attacks in Christchurch, and other attacks in cities and towns around the world where terrorism and violent extremism have struck, to undertake this work,” said Ms Ardern.