US not in position to join Christchurch Call

The White House has issued a statement saying that it supported the Christchurch Call's aims but has declined to join the initiative aiming to tackle the spread of terror online.

The Christchurch Call was launched in response to the deadly terror attack on the New Zealand city that was live streamed on Facebook. Spearheaded by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron, the text of the initiative outlines ‘collective, voluntary commitments’ from governments and internet companies.

However, although five of the world's biggest tech companies pledged to tackle extremist material, the US cited the need for freedom of speech as a predominant reason for not joining the initiative.

The White House statement said: “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. We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards that forbid the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes.

"We maintain that the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech and thus we emphasise the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging.”

As well as New Zealand, France and the UK, countries including Australia, Germany, India and Sweden have backed the action, alongside tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter and Microsoft.


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