Ardern and Macron to attempt to “to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron will chair a meeting in Paris next month which will seek to “to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online”.


NZ and France seek to end use of social media for acts of terrorism

New Zealand and France announced today that the two nations 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 New Zealand.

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 15 May. Jacinda Ardern will also meet with civil society leaders on 14 May 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,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We’re 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.

“We all 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’s 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

“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.”


RNZ: ‘This is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online’

Ms Ardern told Morning Report that since the attacks, there had been a clear call for New Zealand to take on a leadership role in combating violent extremism online.

“There is a role for New Zealand to play now in ensuring we eradicate that kind of activity from social media, in particular to prevent it from ever happening again. We can’t do that alone,” she said.

“This isn’t about freedom of expression, this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online.

“I don’t think anyone would argue that the terrorist, on the 15th of March, had a right to livestream the murder of 50 people, and that is what this call is very specifically focussed on”.

Ms Ardern said she’s met with a number of tech CEOs, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and held meetings with executives from Microsoft, Twitter, and Google.

“When we actually distil this down, no tech company, no country, wants to see online platforms used to perpetuate violent extremism or terrorism. We all have a common starting point. It all then comes down to what it is we are each prepared to do about it.”

Technology correspondent Bill Bennett…

…said a voluntary approach was the only option for getting technology companies to sign up to a crackdown on terrorist behaviour through social media.

“They don’t see themselves as being responsible for content that’s published on their sites anyway. They see themselves as being some kind of neutral thing”.

National Leader Simon Bridges…

…questioned whether the global conversation would translate into anything meaningful.

He was cynical about why Ms Ardern was focusing on the issue.

“I think New Zealanders will say, hey, if you’re not also progressing policy, plans and actions around our housing, health, and education, why is this the big thing?

“Is it just a distraction tactic?”.

New Zealand needed to be cautious about going down a path that would see the casual erosion of freedoms, Mr Bridges said.

NZ Herald: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to lead global attempt to shutdown social media terrorism

Speaking to Newstalk ZB this morning, Ardern said she was confident all major social media companies would sign up to the Christchurch call.

“We have been working on something behind the scenes for some time now, since the 15th of March. I have also recently had calls with a handful of chief executives.”

The call, she said, would place the onus on Governments, in terms of their ability to regulate, as well as on the social media companies themselves.

“I think that’s where we need to move; this can’t just be about individual country’s [ability to] regulate because this is obviously global technology and we need to have those companies accept responsibility as well.”

She said that the principals of a free, open and secure internet would “absolutely be maintained”.

“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”.

“Social media platforms can connect people in many very positive ways, and we all want this to continue.”

But she said for too long it has been possible to use social media platforms to incite extremist violence, and even to distribute images of that violence, as happened in Christchurch.

“This is what needs to change.”

A worthy aim, but it will be difficult to come up with an effective means of preventing the use of social media by terrorists but maintaining the freedom of use of social media generally.

And even if social media companies do put effective control mechanisms in place, it is likely that those seeking to promote and perpetuate violence online will find ways around the controls.

Fine for Ardern and Macron to be seen to be trying to do something about it, but being seen to be trying, and doing anything effective ongoing, will be a big challenge.

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32 Comments

  1. alloytoo

     /  25th April 2019

    Isn’t this the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff?

    A very distracting ambulance worthy of our PM of course.

    Reply
  2. adamsmith1922

     /  25th April 2019

    I view this move by Ardern with deep suspicion and concern. Potentially this threatens free speech and as Ardern does not do detail, this is all too likely.

    Reply
  3. Corky

     /  25th April 2019

    ”The call, she said, would place the onus on Governments, in terms of their ability to regulate, as well as on the social media companies themselves.”

    ”She said that the principals of a free, open and secure internet would “absolutely be maintained”.”

    A fool and their logic are soon parted.

    I have heard a number of commentators say France is heading towards civil war/ breakdown with the Yellow Vest movement showing no signs of diminishing. What better time to have the saint of compassion and goodwill associated with your government, if that government is disintegrating before your eyes?

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th April 2019

      Nobody seems to have said that about civil war since February.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  25th April 2019

        It’s interesting to read about it on French websites rather than just English ones.

        Reply
  4. FarmerPete

     /  25th April 2019

    Before Ardern and Macron get on the world stage and articulate some understanding it is incumbent on them to articulate to their own constituents exactly what their position on free speech is. I have deep distrust that either of them really understand the concept of free speech and how important it is to our system of government. Until she can do this, I think she should stay home.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  25th April 2019

      😮 Not barefoot & in the bleeding kitchen, I hope? 😠

      I thought that was supposed to be Clarke’s job? 😬

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  25th April 2019

        He’s gone fishing with his mates; the novelty of being a househusband wore off a long time ago.

        Even if I ate dead fish, which I don’t as they are animals and I don’t eat animals. I wouldn’t be interested in watching someone else catch and slaughter them. And if they throw them back, after hurting and terrifying them, what on earth’s the point ?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  25th April 2019

          Yeah, well, tbh I wouldn’t know. Not remotely interested in what’s happening with the dad & bubs. They’43 not rellies or friends of mine. Hope they’re both doing fine. And full credit to Jacinda for not “wheeling wee Neve out” in front of the cameras every opportunity she could as what seemed like hordes of disgruntled National supporters kept obsessively insisting she would.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  25th April 2019

            Urk ! 😬

            They’43 = They’re

            Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  26th April 2019

            He does a fishing show, of all boring things to watch. Who’d pay someone to do that and who’d watch it ?

            She did make capital of bubs at first, and anyone who thinks that the pregancy was an unplanned surprise is very naive indeed.

            Reply
  5. David

     /  25th April 2019

    Its a clue on where our PM will be in 18 months time job wise, she has little interest in the day to day grind of her job and who can blame her.
    She show little interest in trying to get any results out of her despairingly hopeless cabinet to move the needle.

    Reply
  6. Gerrit

     /  25th April 2019

    Good luck to the SJW in controlling what the Russian Yandex and the Chinese Baidu search engine will link to.

    Is is very easy to find copies of Christchurch shooting videos on these search engines and no sign that they are being taken down.

    Yandex especially would have no troubles if Google and Facebook were restricted as they would become the go to search engine and social media platforms (if not already the dark side favourate).

    If you want to see what control (or lack thereof) can influence your search results, try a little exercise in typing the same search request into each and view the results.

    [Note that searching for and downloading the video may be illegal in New Zealand, so don’t take this comment as a suggestion that you should try. I have lefty the comment as is because it points out that alternative search engines will make control of content very difficult to achieve. PG]

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  25th April 2019

      Thanks PG. After I posted the comment I thought it might be risky. Issue to be raised from your clarification; that it is illegal to even search? I can understand download and view but to search is illegal?

      That is taking censorship to another level.

      Note that both Russia and China will channel their internet flow through a single entry point in the future. They will build an “internal” controlled internet with access to and from the world wide web, through a tightly controlled single portal.

      Wonder if Ardern and Macron plus their meeting mates will go down this line of control for individual states?

      https://www.newamerica.org/cybersecurity-initiative/c2b/c2b-log/russias-plans-for-a-national-internet/

      “First, it pulls “traffic exchange points” under the jurisdiction of the law. This year’s proposed amendments define traffic exchange points as the “communications facilities” that “connect… and pass traffic between communication networks of telecommunications operators”—essentially what we refer to as Internet Exchange Points, or IXPs. The amendments set out that traffic exchange points must comply with orders from and share information with the Federal Service for the Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media—better known as Roskomnadzor, or Roskom. Traffic exchange point operators must also comply with requests from Roskomnadzor that they adjust their routing and develop the capacity to resolve domain names using the—as of yet incomplete—Russian national domain name system (DNS).”

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  25th April 2019

        This is the destruction of the internet to serve dictators.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  25th April 2019

          Search engines already limit certain things.

          Google maps/Street view has certain parts of Bondi in Sydney and Caulfield Melbourne that contain jewish facilities ‘blocked’

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  25th April 2019

            It’s horrible that 70 years after the Holocaust this is necessary.

            Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  25th April 2019

          What right do people have to see other people being slaughtered and having their heads blown off ? Or to see a baby running laughing towards his killer before he’s murdered in front of his family ? Why would you want to ?

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  25th April 2019

            Didn’t you read what Russia and China are doing? That has nothing to do with terrorism.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  26th April 2019

              I have read what people claim that China is thinking of doing, no evidence cited.

              Russia is a law unto itself and always has been.

    • Gezza

       /  25th April 2019

      Reminds me Aljazeera tv, reported briefly, in a quick pre-documentary 5 minute news summary early this morning that “it looks likely that the UK is going to defy the United States & use Huawei for the infrastructure of their 5G rollout.

      Waiting to see if it’s rumour (they do report rumour) or reality.

      Reply
  7. David

     /  25th April 2019

    Facebook et al already under huge pressure in the US but they see a great opportunity to invite congress to write new laws, Zuckerberg is enthusiatic, as it forms a barrier to entry for competitors and in the future it becomes the politicians appearing before congressional committees not multi billionaire tech CEOs.
    Ardern is late to the party to be honest but is not a univerally disliked politician so may get some sway, hooking up with Macron devalues her to be honest.

    Reply
  8. Gerrit

     /  25th April 2019

    Ardern could always go for the social credit scheme now being rolled out in China. Look at a naughty web site, instant demerit points in your social credit score. Low enough score and restrictions on movement, jobs, loans, schooling, etc. A socialist paradise in keeping the population under control.

    http://time.com/collection/davos-2019/5502592/china-social-credit-score/

    “The fear, however, is that it will also be good for a Chinese government eager to quash free speech and root out dissenters. Under the state systems, “spreading rumors” is disproportionately penalized. In one region, neighborhoods have dedicated watchers to record deeds and misdeeds. As the state continues to persecute religious minorities like the Uighurs and silence outspoken academics, the worry is what metrics the social-credit systems may extend to next.”

    Whilst you may not be able to control what is published, you can certainly punish people who look at whatever is deemed “unacceptable”.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  25th April 2019

      Thats absurd . Nothing like that is even being suggested. Its blocking the worst terrorist atrocities who ride on major platforms , especially facebooks ‘live feed’ capability.

      ” you can certainly punish people who look at whatever is deemed “unacceptable”

      censorship laws in NZ have been like that since the 70s and in different versions before that Are you saying its a new thing?
      before that underground pornography did exist for a limited audience and major studios self censored.
      Even the censors website mentions some films were banned in the 30s/40s for being ‘too silly for words’ ie low brow stories aimed at woman

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  25th April 2019

        It has not been suggested as YET. Does not mean it is not being thought about (Social Credit Scores).

        Problem with the 1970’s style censorship is that it only worked if the local distribution networks (local cinemas, TV stations, libraries, newspapers, magazines, etc.) were the only means for viewing content.

        That linear model for censorship, distribution and viewing has long passed its use by date.

        With the web I can view porn from a Czech or Cyprian server beyond the reach of the censor. I can view live streamed sport from Germany and the UK, beyond the reach of local broadcasting rights holders.

        The world wide web has changed the world and the old censorship model simply is not longer able to curtail what I watch.

        If content is unable to be censored than the only option is to somehow punish those that watch “undesirable” content.

        The Chinese “Social Credit Score” model would fit that paradigm nicely.

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  25th April 2019

        I can’t understand the silly obsession with FB’s live feed. It’s been used once for terrorist propaganda. So what? It’s simple to set up a live feed to any cloud service and then copy the video anywhere you want. Most people who viewed it did not do so on the live feed.

        Reply
        • alloytoo

           /  25th April 2019

          Because while Ardern may not understand GDP (or CGT(or possibly GST)) she understands that in recent years FB has become less cool and now (to some) represents “the Man”.

          IE: she looks cool.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  25th April 2019

            She often looks unkempt and messy, as if she hasn’t brushed or even washed her hair. This doesn’t look good on someone of 40, only a teenager or someone in their 20s can get away with it. A PM should look the part. At the Anzac Day service she looked sloppy and as if she’d borrowed granddad’s raincoat.

            Reply
            • alloytoo

               /  25th April 2019

              Yes, but attacking Facebook is the only way a Prime Minister can show the finger to the “New” man.

              Unfortunately it doesn’t make me feel any safer.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  26th April 2019

              New man ???

              Someone said in the Herald that she should make up her mind about whether she’s the NZ PM or an international trailblazer. I agree.

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