Governments, Internet firms ally forces against extremist, violent content
Governments and Internet companies will be looking for ways to abate the dissemination of social media posts featuring terrorism and violence. Yesterday the presidents and prime ministers of 18 countries agreed on the aim with representatives of tech companies at a meeting in Paris.
Facebook, which is based in the USA, pledged before the summit to block access to its services by anybody disseminating violent videos. The Paris meeting was initiated by New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in response to the recent massacre of Muslim worshipers committed in Christchurch.
Yesterday marked exactly two months from the day that an Australian white supremacist murdered 51 people in two mosques. He broadcast the bloodshed live on Facebook which, in addition to sparking significant indignation, also incited reactions of an anti-Muslim, xenophobic nature, some of which police have been in the process of investigating.
In the "Christchurch Call", which is not legally enforceable, Internet companies pledged yesterday to "eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online." The governments of the undersigned countries also intend to pay strict attention to following their own rules so as not to endanger freedom of speech.
"We have managed to adopt specific steps to make sure the Christchurch tragedy will never be repeated," Arden told Agence-France Presse. French President Emmanuel Macron initiated the call together with her and the meeting was attended, for example, by British Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Facebook, whose boss Mark Zuckerberg was not at yesterday's negotiation, did meet with Macron last Friday to discuss the call and ahead of the summit publicized specific measures that the company intends to take against the dissemination of terrorist or violent videos. Anybody who disseminates violent content through the network can be blocked from accessing its live video broadcast service for a set amount of time.
The firm has also pledged to invest USD 7.5 million into developing a system to detect illegal content more reliably. Facebook already has instruments for that purpose, but some users managed to circumvent them in the case of disseminating the Christchurch video.
The attempt to abate terrorist content on social media is not new. Politicians call on the Internet giants to address this problem after practically every big assassination attempt.
Last September the European Commission proposed new rules requiring tech companies to remove material with terrorist content from the web within one hour of being called upon to do so by the authorities. If firms such as Facebook, Google or Twitter do not do so, they face a fine of up to 4 % of their global revenues from the preceding year.
Interior Ministers of EU countries supported the proposal in December at their Brussels meeting and the European Parliament approved it in April of this year. The Czech Republic was not one of the countries attending yesterday's Christchurch Call meeting.
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