The U.S. has said it stands with the goals of Christchurch Call, and the global effort to condemn the spread of extremist content online, but will not sign on it as it could affect people’s right to speak freely.
On Wednesday, there was praise from the White House for Christchurch’s call for action, led by Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister New Zealand and Emmanuel Macron French President, but also word saying that it was currently unable to join on the endorsement.
The United States thus becomes an outlier. Allies like Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Germany, Spain and Italy are all set to sign the call. Major tech giants like Amazon, Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are also involved.
The White House said it will continue proactive efforts to restrict online extremist content while simultaneously respecting people and the press’ right to express freely.
Ardern wrote, in an article for The NY Times op-ed last weekend, the Christchurch Call will be a voluntary structure wherein signatories will commit to counter terrorism drivers and implement certain specific measures for preventing the upload of violent content.
The mass shooting at Christchurch’s mosque by an alleged white supremacist, saw the death of 51 people, on March 15. The shooter had live-streamed part of the shooting on Facebook.
Such digital footprints, along with his claims of how he gathered his views from the internet, has pushed for this call to various social media websites to take better action against hate speech.
Facebook announced on Wednesday, it will implement new rules for its livestreaming feature, in its effort to contain the spread of terrorist content.
In a typical joint statement, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have resolved to come together to address technology abuse and to improve their capabilities to detect terrorist content and promptly remove them.