World: Trump administration declines to join Christchurch Call to Action - PressFrom - US

WorldTrump administration declines to join Christchurch Call to Action

20:50  15 may  2019
20:50  15 may  2019 Source:

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Trump administration declines to join Christchurch Call to Action© Sanka Vidanagama/AFP/Getty Images Armed police officers stand guard outside the Al Noor mosque during Friday prayers in Christchurch on May 3, 2019.

The United States will not be joining the Christchurch Call for Action, a push by New Zealand and France to encourage tech companies and countries to work together to end the use of social media in acts of terrorism, the Trump administration announced Wednesday.

"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. We will continue to engage governments, industry and civil society to counter terrorist content on the internet," the White House said in a statement.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron announced the Christchurch Call earlier Wednesday in Paris at a meeting of digital leaders for the G7 nations, just two months after the March 15 mass shootings on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, left 51 dead and many wounded.

Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the Christchurch attacks in the first 24 hours after the massacre. It also blocked 1.2 million of them at upload, meaning they would not have been seen by users.

"When it came to the way this attack was specifically designed to be broadcast and to go viral, (responding) to that needed a global solution, so that was why we immediately got in contact with international counterparts," Ardern told CNN Tuesday.

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The signing of the Christchurch Call was organized around a meeting of digital ministers from the Group of 7 nations this week in Paris. New Zealand officials visited the United States for meetings at the White House and the State Department to urge the administration to join the pact.

Facebook has signed on to the agreement, introducing new rules for live-streaming. Under the new policy, the alleged Christchurch shooter would not have been able to livestream the massacre from his account in March, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business.

The US thanked Ardern and Macron "for organizing this important effort" in its Wednesday statement, noting that the administration "(agrees) with the overarching message" in the nonbinding agreement.

The statement condemned terrorist and violent extremist content online "in the strongest terms," however, it cited freedom of expression and freedom of the press as reasons it would not be joining the agreement.

"We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards that forbid the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes. We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press," the statement read.

It continued: "Further, we maintain that the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech, and thus we emphasize the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging."

The Trump administration has been involved in efforts to end online terrorist content, including its September 2017 endorsement of the Zurich-London Recommendations on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism Online.

A painter has just revealed an 80-foot mural of New Zealand's prime minister comforting a woman.
An artist in Australia has just revealed a new mural depicting New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hugging the relative of a victim in the mass shootings in March at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The mural shows the two figures towering across a silo in the suburb of Brunswick, on the northern edge of Melbourne, Australia. It's 25 meters tall, or just over 80 feet, according to SBS News. The photo of Ardern embracing a woman in a hijab at Christchurch's Kilbirnie Mosque has previously been projected on landmarks throughout the world, including on Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.

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