New Zealand’s Ardern Calls On Social Media Companies To Stem Terrorist Content

by NPR
May 15, 2019

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she was one of many who saw horrifying footage of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch when the video of it started auto-playing in her social media feed. In the wake of the violence in which 51 people were killed, New Zealand immediately imposed new gun control measures and introduced legislation that would ban most semi-automatic firearms.

Now Ardern is turning her efforts toward another factor in the violence that day: the social media platforms on which the gunman live-streamed his attack.

She’s in Paris on Wednesday at a meeting of digital leaders of the Group of Seven nations, working with French president Emmanuel Macron to push an initiative deemed the “Christchurch Call.” The agreement asks governments and internet companies to do more to prevent the live broadcast of terrorist attacks, and make sure such content is removed quickly when it does appear.

On Tuesday night, Facebook announced that it would be taking steps to try to prevent such videos from reaching its platform, and work to find effective ways to take them down if they are posted. The company said that users who break certain rules – for instance, “someone who shares a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context” — will be blocked for a set period of time from broadcasting to Facebook Live.

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