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Facebook, Google, Twitter join forces to fight online extremism

Some of the largest tech companies in the world have signed on to a new agreement to fight terrorism and violent extremism on their platforms, following the attack on a Christchurch mosque that was live streamed on Facebook. 

Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all joined the Christchurch Call, an effort between world leaders and tech companies to fight the spread of violent extremism online. The agreement was announced following a meeting in Paris, organized by French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

The U.S. declined to join the agreement, saying in a statement that “we continue to support the overall goals,” but that “the United States is not currently in a position to join the endorsement.”

“We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards that forbid the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes,” the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy wrote in a statement. 

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

Under the agreement, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Amazon agreed to a nine-part plan that includes “identifying appropriate checks on livestreaming, aimed at reducing the risk of disseminating terrorist and violent extremist content online.” Earlier, Facebook announced a new “one strike” policy that will prevent people who have violated the company’s community standards from live streaming. 

The companies also pledged to work with NGOs, government officials, and educational groups to better educate their users about violent extremism and make reporting tools more widely available.

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