Macron and Ardern seek pledge to eliminate violent content online

Clay Curtis
May 16, 2019

Ardern was set to join other world leaders in launching the "Christchurch Call" to curb online extremism at an global meeting in Paris on Wednesday. Following the Christchurch shooting, Facebook (FB) removed 1.5 million copies of the mosque attack video.

Ahead of a summit on online extremism, Ardern was responding to a question asking whether countries can learn from New Zealand.

It also said it would fund research at three universities on techniques to detect manipulated media, which Facebook's systems struggled to spot in the aftermath of the attack.

The decision puts the United States at odds with USA tech companies including Facebook and Google, which are expected to support the effort.

Facebook says it is tightening rules around its livestreaming feature - a move New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says is a "good first step".

"New technology to prevent the easy spread of terrorist content will be a major contributor to making social media safer for users, and stopping the unintentional viewing of extremist content like so many people in New Zealand did after the attack, including myself, when it auto played in Facebook feeds".

The news release explained that the policy until now had been to remove any video that violated the site's community standards, and to suspend any users who repeatedly posted banned content. People were only banned from the site altogether, it said, "either because of repeated low-level violations, or, in rare cases, because of a single egregious violation (for instance, using terror propaganda in a profile picture or sharing images of child exploitation)".

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To assist with such purges, the company is investing $7.5 million in research, across the University of Maryland, Cornell University and the University of California, Berkley, to improve video detection software.

"I don't think anyone would argue that the terrorist on the 15th of March had a right to live-stream the murder of 50 people", she said last month.

The firms said they would update their terms of use to "expressly prohibit the distribution of terrorist and violent extremist content".

Top executives from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Twitter were also expected to attend, though Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was to be represented by another executive from the social media giant. "To be honest with you, I do not understand the United States".

Ardern said at the time that tech companies could do a great deal more to tackle the spread of violent content.

Rosen explained that Facebook has historically banned rule-breaking users from its entire platform, but that its new policy seeks to set rules that would specifically bar people from the Live service.

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