Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube and a whole lot of other global tech companies have joined forces with governments to address the issue of terrorist and violent extremist content online, but guess who hasn’t joined?
Labelled the ‘Christchurch Call’, the agreement commits governments and online service providers into tackling these problems “without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms”, all while being consistent with the principles of a free and open internet.
“It must also recognise the internet’s ability to act as a force for good, including by promoting innovation and economic development and fostering inclusive societies,” the agreement reads.
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, Google and Amazon released the following statement: “The terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March were a horrifying tragedy.
“And so it is right that we come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence.
“For our part, the commitments we are making today will further strengthen the partnership that Governments, society and the technology industry must have to address this threat.”
- Transparent and specific measures to prevent the upload of extremist content
- Prioritising the moderation of such content
- Review of the algorithms that may amplify the dissemination of this content
Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and New Zealand were among the 18 governments listed as supporters of the agreement.
The United States has not signed the agreement.
The White House released a statement defending its decision not to sign on: “We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”
The Post reported that a White House spokesperson had said there were concerns the agreement impacts upon free speech principles and the First Amendment.
The pledge comes two months after the Christchurch mosque shootings in which 51 people lost their lives.
Despite having safeguards in place to prevent such content appearing on the platform, the shootings were lives-treamed and shared approximately 1.5 million times on Facebook.
Facebook was criticised for allowing the graphic content to spread, as well as Nine and Sky News who shared the vision.
The incident prompted Australia’s Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) to launch an investigation.