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French President, New Zealand PM to Tackle Extremist Online Content

French President, New Zealand PM to Tackle Extremist Online Content

Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 - 11:30
French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are to launch a new initiative aimed at curbing extremism online (AFP)
Brussels, Christchurch – Abdullah Mustafa, Asharq al-Awsat
France will host a high-level international meeting aimed at getting governments and social media companies working together to curb the spread of violent and extremist online content.

French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called for the meeting after the terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch in March.

Major Internet companies representatives were invited to attend the meeting, which will discuss practical actions to be taken to combat terrorist online content, according to the European Commission statement.

Earlier in March, an Australian extremist gunman attacked two mosques in New Zealand killing 51 while live-streaming the assault.

The Commission has proposed that any terrorist content or incitement to violence should be deleted within one hour after it appears on the Internet.

For more than a year, Brussels has begun working with giant Internet companies to curb the spread of all violent content and false news on various social media networks.

The Commission called on the Internet companies to remove the terrorist content within one hour, after receiving orders from the authorities, in the framework of contributing to fight extremism and to the maintenance of public security.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres promised new efforts to tackle online hate speech and a “global plan of action” during a visit to Christchurch's al-Noor Mosque.

Guterres said a new UN body would lead international efforts to “extinguish” a threat that spreads like “wildfire” on social media.

“Hate speech is spreading and public discourse is being coarsened,” he said at the mosque on Tuesday.

“Hate speech is spreading like wildfire in social media. We must extinguish it. There is no room for hate speech – online or offline.”

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