Attendance at Ardern and Macron’s social media summit in Paris

New Zealand prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is co-chairing a meeting with world leaders and the tech industry with French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday (NZ time), to build support for Ardern’s “Christchurch Call” – a pledge to try to stop violent extremist content from spreading online.

Ardern explained her aims in an op-ed in the NY Times – see Jacinda Ardern ‘opinion’ in NY Times.

There aren’t a lot of world leaders attending in Paris – short notice would have made it difficult for some – but enough to make it a worthwhile attempt to get things rolling. Actually too many leaders may have made it more difficult to get agreement

Stuff: Who is and isn’t coming to Jacinda Ardern’s Paris summit on social media

This week’s meeting is being co-chaired by French President Macron. France is hosting the G7 Digital Summit, which sits alongside the Christchurch Call meeting.

The pledge will be launched two months to the day after the terror attack in Christchurch, which the alleged killer livestreamed on Facebook.

She will be joined by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Senegal President Macky Sall, and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Ardern said talks were “ongoing” with the United States, where most of these large firms are based, but it was clear President Donald Trump would not be making the trip.

Because of a quirk of tax law however, many of the companies have vast subsidiaries based in Ireland, who are sending a leader.

Facebook itself is sending head of global affairs, and former UK deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.

Zuckerberg did travel to Paris to meet Macron on Friday, who he has an ongoing relationship with.

Ardern has engaged with both Zuckerberg and Sandberg following the attack. She told Stuff it would have been preferable for Zuckerberg to attend, but she was more interested in a concrete result than who attended.

“Would we have found it preferable to have Mark Zuckerberg there? Absolutely. However the most important point for me is a commitment from Facebook. I would absolutely trade having them sign up to this than anything around a presence at this event. It’s the action that is important to us.”

Twitter is the only tech company sending its chief executive, Jack Dorsey. Microsoft is sending President Brad Smith while Wikimedia is sending Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Google is sending Senior Vice President for Global Affairs Kent Walker.

I expect that any of the tech companies would have to approve any commitments through their management so it’s unlikely the Christchurch Call summit in Paris will provide anything like a final solution to violent extremist content online, but it is a step in the right direction.

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6 Comments

  1. David

     /  13th May 2019

    Good for her trying to get something done, helpfully the social media firms are on the same page as her as they finally step up and realize they have a problem on their platforms. Zuckerberg doesnt want to be back in front of congress and be regulated to death, just enough to stop competition.
    Ardern seems to be focusing just on terrorism type content which is smart, keep the target small and one which no one can rationally disagree with and one where things were heading already and she could get a good result despite the pretty shallow attendee list. I wish her well.

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  13th May 2019

      What’s the purpose? Take away the influence? OK so you take it away from general sites. That would leave individual groups sites. Does that mean those who would be influenced cannot source the information.?

      Reply
      • David

         /  13th May 2019

        I dont know because she hasnt really said what she wants, if its to do their best not to show live mass shootings and quickly take down beheading videos well they are already doing that so lets see if she has given any thoughts on how to push them along with some great new ideas.
        Individual sites probably could be blocked through the ISPs who I imagine cooperate locally now after Nationals legislation.

        Reply
  2. Reply
    • David

       /  13th May 2019

      I would have hoped there was more than that. Algorithms are always being examined, no doubt all parts of their business is under review and sharing the details on nut jobs should be standard practice and is being done already, Alex Jones was deplatformed by everyone at the same moment.
      Pretty wishy washy.

      Reply
  3. Duker

     /  13th May 2019

    ” any of the tech companies would have to approve any commitments through their management “????

    While he has Clegg his stooge who will be attending , Im sure Clegg will be in constant communication with the top level Zuckerberg and Sanderson . Thats how any ‘summit’ would happen where the principals from one side arent present.

    One thing not mentioned but has come up here in the Christchurch context ( and others) where the local news media aid the overseas media in circumventing court restrictions on names and other details being ‘released outside the court room’ Its not something that Im overly worried about . But its a hyprocisy of the local media to be ‘helpers’ of their colleagues overseas to get around local laws.
    Certainly international media dont try to get around Israeli censorship when reporting the Palestinian conflict – mostly in reporting of Palestinian deaths and how they occur,

    Reply

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