White House won’t sign global call to curb terrorist content online

The White House Wednesday said it will not join an international call for Facebook, Twitter, Google and other tech companies to curb terrorist and extremist content online in the wake of the deadly New Zealand mosque shootings, videos of which spread across social media.

The so-called Christchurch call, spearheaded by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron, urges social media firms to evaluate how their platforms direct users to violent content and to better coordinate with global authorities and other industry leaders to contain the spread of such materials.

“While the United States is not currently in a position to join the endorsement, we continue to support the overall goals reflected in the Call,” the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy said in a release. “We will continue to engage governments, industry, and civil society to counter terrorist content on the Internet.”

The White House didn’t specifically state why it wouldn’t join the call but said in its statement that it believes “the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech” and advocated “promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging.”

The move comes amid growing scrutiny of tech companies’ efforts to stop the spread of videos of the New Zealand shootings, as well as of hateful rhetoric inciting violent acts.

Facebook said Tuesday it will ban certain people who break rules including those against “dangerous individuals and organizations” from livestreaming for certain periods of time.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine


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