After banning assault weapons sales, New Zealand’s prime minister is taking the lead in combating the use of social media to “incite extremists and hatred.”
Rabat – Following the deadly terrorist attack at two Christchurch mosques, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron will co-chair a global summit on May 15 to address online extremism.
Ardern said on Wednesday, April 24, that the meeting will be a call for world leaders and executives of tech companies to agree to a pledge called “Christchurch Call,” named after the New Zealand city where a terrorist opened fire at two mosques, killing 50 people and wounding another 50.
The call is designed to end the misuse of social media to promote terrorism and hatred as a response to the Christchurch gunman’s live-streaming a 17-minute video of the heinous shootings on Facebook.
Ardern noted that, despite social media’s positive uses, it can also be used to “incite extremist violence, and even to distribute images of that violence, as happened in Christchurch.”
Ardern said the criminal used social media to propagate hatred and terrorism. “This isn’t about freedom of speech,” Ardern said. “It’s specifically focused on eradicating those extreme acts of terrorism online.”
Ardern called 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 … to ensure social media cannot be used again the way it was in the March 15 terrorist attack.”