Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is continuing to use her profile on the world stage to lobby social media companies to block the publication of harmful content.
She will join French President Emmanuel Macron in co-chairing a meeting in Paris on May 15, aimed at getting government and tech leaders to agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’ to “eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online”.
“The March 15 [Christchurch] 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,” 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.”
The meeting will be held alongside the ‘Tech for Humanity’ meeting of G7 Digital Ministers, and France’s ‘Tech for Good’ summit – both on May 15.
Ardern will also meet with civil society leaders on May 14 to discuss the content of the Call.