The Trump administration has opted the U.S. out of a global effort to prevent the spread of hate speech and extremist ideology and mobilization on internet platforms because the initiative does not promote “freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” Time reports.
The White House’s statement on Wednesday came after world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, executives from Twitter, Google, Facebook, and other major tech companies met in Paris to draft new guidelines named the “Christchurch Call” after 51 people were killed in the New Zealand city’s mosque. A Facebook livestream broadcasted much of the attack and provoked debate about social media regulation. Facebook announced prior to the meeting that it would tighten restrictions on livestreams.
The White House said in its statement that it will “continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online” while simultaneously defending free speech.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Arden called the Christchurch Call a “global response to a tragedy that occurred on the shores of my country but was ultimately felt around the world.” Jacenta has led the push for a global effort against online extremism.
“Fundamentally it ultimately commits us all to build a more humane internet, which cannot be misused by terrorists for their hateful purposes,” she said during a joint press conference with Macron.
The governments of France and New Zealand penned the agreement that intends to combat hate speech while preserving “the principles of a free, open and secure internet, without compromising human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Companies including Amazon, Youtube, Microsoft, the WIkimedia Foundation, and many more adopted the call. Britain, Canada, Ireland, Jordan, Norway, Senegal, Indonesia and the European Union’s executive body also backed the initiative, in addition to several other nations that were not present at the gathering.
“The Christchurch Call is different in that it associates all actors of the internet” including the internet platforms themselves, differing from other attempts at internet regulation, Macron said.