Five of the world’s largest tech companies have agreed to introduce new measures to their businesses to help eliminate violent and terrorist content from the internet.
Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have agreed on a nine-point plan of action following a meeting with world leaders and tech firms in Paris named the Christchurch Call to Action.
The meeting, hosted by French president Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, was in response to the terror attack on mosques in Christchurch in March, in which 51 people were killed.
The attack was live streamed online and widely shared.
We’re leading the world in tackling online harms, but it’s not enough for us to act alone.
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) May 15, 2019
Prime Minister Theresa May was among the world leaders at the meeting.
In a joint statement, the tech companies said they would each take individual steps to improve their policies on violent content, as well as increase collaboration in order to fight the spread of such content.
“The terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March were a horrifying tragedy. And so it is right that we come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence,” the statement said.
“The Christchurch Call announced today expands on the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), and builds on our other initiatives with government and civil society to prevent the dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content.
“Terrorism and violent extremism are complex societal problems that require an all-of-society response. For our part, the commitments we are making today will further strengthen the partnership that governments, society and the technology industry must have to address this threat.”
The agreement also includes pledges to invest in new technology to better find and remove inappropriate posts, as well introduce new checks on livestreams and publish regular transparency reports.
Collaboratively, the five firms have said they will for the first time work together on crisis protocols, establishing with governments and other organisations a protocol for responding to active terror events.
The companies have also committed to increase the amount of shared technology development taking place in the industry, as well as offering more education for users on how to report and respond to such content.
Just landed in Paris, with a busy few days ahead. First, the Christchurch Call to Action meeting, where world leaders & social media companies will meet to take action against violence & hate online. Then, I’ll speak at @VivaTech about restoring trust in the digital world.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 15, 2019
Former deputy prime minister Sir Nick Clegg, who is now Facebook’s head of global affairs, attended the summit, along with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey.
The Government recently published a White Paper around online harms which called for a statutory duty of care to be introduced for internet firms, which would be enforced by a new independent regulator.