Otautahi – Is it possible to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism from the internet?
And can videos and livestreams of attacks be prevented from going viral and maybe even prevent them from being shared or uploaded in the first place?
Governments and tech companies involved in the Christchurch Call are working with other public-private partnerships to develop the technical capacity and coordinated approach required to make it happen.
It is more than two years since the Christchurch mosque attacks. Fifty-one people were killed and dozens injured in the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history, after a man opened fire at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.
Heads of state and officials from the tech industry recently had a virtual summit to mark the second anniversary of the Christchurch Call.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern launched the initiative, along with French President Emmanuel Macron following the attack.
The Christchurch Call now includes 55 governments and 10 of the world’s leading internet providers, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft, which have voluntarily committed to the action plan.
The United States, which did not join the pledge during the Trump administration, reversed course and joined the Call when Joe Biden became president.
The action plan includes pledges from the participating governments and tech companies to eradicate terrorist- and violent extremist content online.
The summit aimed to take stock of what governments and companies had achieved over two years and agree on a common set of priorities going forward.
These include expanding the geographic reach and diversity of participants, especially increasing the membership of tech companies to include a broader diversity of platforms from a size and geographic perspective.
They also will seek to improve crisis response and the rapid coordination needed to respond to the online dimension of attacks, while gaining a better understanding of the role that algorithms play in amplification and the process of radicalisation.
And they pledge to improve the transparency of government and industry efforts to counter online posts.
The tech companies and governments have developed crisis-response protocols that provide a roadmap for tech companies to coordinate with governments in the wake of a terrorist attack.
Developed through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, an industry body that recently spun off to become an independent non-profit organisation, they are seen as a top priority for implementing the Call’s voluntary pledges.