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The White House will not join Christchurch's call to eliminate online extremism amid worries about freedom of speech



Staff writer covering technology policy

Drew Harwell

15 May at 11:01

The White House will not sign an international call to combat online extremism a controversy between French and New Zealand officials and leading social media amid the US's concern that it faces constitutional defense for freedom of speech

The decision is preparing to announce the so-called "call to action in Christchurch" on Wednesday, an effort called the New Zealand City where the shooter is attacking two mosques in an attack inspired by online hate broadcasting on social media sites. The document calls on governments and technology giants to improve their efforts to investigate and stop the spread of harmful content

. Officials said they were "with the international community in condemning terrorist and violently extremist online content" and supported the aims of the Christchurch document. But the White House says it is "unable to join the approval right now," which is expected to sign leaders from countries like Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. The decision places the United States at odds with US technology companies, including Facebook and Google, which are expected to support efforts.

A day earlier, White House officials expressed concern that the document might come across the First Amendment.

] "We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorism online, while continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press," the White House said. "In addition, we claim that the best instrument for winning terrorist speech is productive speech, and thus we emphasize the importance of promoting reliable, alternative stories as the primary means by which we can defeat the terrorists' messages."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jackie Ardenne and French President Emanuel Macron have called for action to be revealed later in Paris in response to Ardren's request for greater accountability in the social media after the March shooter surrendered the Christchurch attack live for millions to see online. Facebook, Google, and Twitter tried to quickly take copies of the video violently as they spread across the web, triggering an international response from regulators who thought malicious actors were too easily escaped from Silicon Valley censorship.

announced two efforts to address regulators' concerns and stop the spread of harmful content in its services. Now, users who violate Facebook's "most serious policies" – such as sharing a connection with the statements of a known terrorist group – will be banned from broadcast live video on the platform for specific periods of time. Facebook said the policy, if implemented earlier, may have stopped the Christchurch shooter from using live live streaming in the company to target the mosque attacks


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