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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Macron, Ardern Host Paris Summit Against Online Extremism


7Dnews London

Wed, 15 May 2019 09:45 GMT

French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand's premier Jacinda Ardern will on Wednesday, May 15th, host other world leaders and prominent tech chiefs to launch an ambitious new initiative aimed at curbing extremism online, AFP has reported.

The initiative, known as the "Christchurch Call", was pushed by Ardern after a self-described white supremacist gunned down 51 people in a massacre at two mosques in the New Zealand city in March, the country's worst atrocity of recent times.

Participants will be asked to commit to pledges to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content on social media and other online platforms.

The political meeting will run in parallel to an initiative launched by Macron called Tech for Good which will bring together 80 tech chiefs in Paris to find a way for new technologies to work for the common good.

The summit comes as there is a growing realisation that the current abuse of social media by extremists must be countered, after the Christchurch attacker broadcast live footage on Facebook from a head-mounted camera.

The New Zealand leader earned huge international prominence and respect after the attacks by reaching out to Muslim communities at home and vowing a wide scale crackdown on extremist content.

Other key leaders attending include Jordan's King Abdullah II, Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

Prominent figures from tech and social networks will also be present, most notably Twitter founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey, who will also have bilateral talks with Ardern.

However, a notable absentee will be Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who held talks in Paris with Macron last week.

The Christchurch Call meeting is to get underway around 1400 GMT and finish with a press conference by Ardern and Macron at 1600 GMT.

The Tech for Good meeting will also be attended by the CEO of ride hailing app Uber Dara Khosrowshahi, who will later have bilateral talks with Macron.

Ardern wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times over the weekend: "It was designed to be broadcast on the internet. The entire event was livestreamed... the scale of this horrific video's reach was staggering."

Ardern said Facebook removed 1.5 million copies of the video within 24 hours of the attack, but she still found herself among those who inadvertently saw the footage when it auto-played on their social media feeds.

New Zealand officials said she found a natural partner for the fight against online extremism in Macron, who has repeatedly stated that the status quo is unacceptable.

A French presidential source said that it was time for tech companies to "anticipate how their features will be exploited."

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