Macron, Ardern search pledge to purge extremism from social media

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The leaders of New Zealand and France plan to host a meeting of global leaders and technical managers in an attempt to get a seal from the transfer of violent extremism on social media sites.

Meetings over two days in Paris next month will take place next to a Group of Seven meeting of digital ministers, and a separate technology summit, New Zealand and the government said Wednesday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she and her co-chairman of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, would seek a pledge from the participants to the use of social media to organize and promote terrorism and extremist violence.

“Our plan is to try and to build unity around this issue,” Ms Ardern said.


She said details of the building were still to be developed, and the participants for the event are not yet confirmed.

New Zealand leader is looking for a leadership role on the issue after a gunman 50 people killed during an attack on two mosques in Christchurch, the second largest city, on March 15. A video of the attack was posted on Facebook Inc.’s live-streaming service, and probably millions of times viewed in various formats on the internet.

Images of the massacre has been online for about an hour before it was removed from the Facebook site, stirring debate about what technology companies are doing to tackle viral content that could incite violence, have an impact on the elections and divide communities. Facebook later acknowledged limitations in the treatment of live broadcasts and said its artificial intelligence tools had not been able to catch the video.

Governments struggle with the dissemination of such content, and threatening stricter laws to clamp down on abuse of social media.


After the New Zealand attack, Australia passed new measures which are an insult for the social media platforms, not to remove violent material quickly. New Zealand has proposed the introduction of similar changes, while Singapore has drafted a law that tech companies immediately fixes for incorrect information published on their platforms.

“What is clear however, is what happened on the 15th of March was unprecedented in the way it uses online platforms for the dissemination of the terrorist attack” in Christchurch, Ms Ardern told reporters in Auckland. “It was horrific, and I don’t think anyone would say, not someone from the tech companies, or a member of the government, that that is the way that the online platforms should be used.”

Click here to read more from The Wall Street Journal, where this story first appeared.

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