Published: Wed, May 15, 2019

Macron and Ardern seek pledge to eliminate violent content online

Macron and Ardern seek pledge to eliminate violent content online

Two months after the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand was live-streamed by the accused gunman on Facebook, the company is introducing new rules for the feature.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes made headlines last week when he called for the company to be broken up - specifically by shedding its WhatsApp and Instagram divisions - due to its "unchecked power".

Firms themselves will be urged to come up with concrete measures, the source said, for example by reserving live broadcasting to social media accounts whose owners have been identified.

Representatives from Twitter and Google will be attending the meeting.

The CEOs and world leaders will try to agree on guidelines they will call the "Christchurch Call", named after the New Zealand city where the attack on a mosque took place.

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted the event with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who has been calling for technology executives to sign a pledge as the "Christchurch Call".

In today's announcement, Facebook argued that it failed to weed out some videos because they were edited or manipulated. Users could also be banned from live streaming if they share links to statements from terrorist groups without any context, for instance.


"Facebook's decision to put limits on live streaming is a good first step to restrict the application being used as a tool for terrorists, and shows the Christchurch Call is being acted on", Ardern said in an email from her spokesman, according to Reuters.

"We plan on extending these restrictions to other areas over the coming weeks, beginning with preventing those same people from creating ads on Facebook", Rosen said.

Ms Ardern called the measures a "good first step". As such, it pledged $7.5 million toward research with universities like Cornell and USC Berkeley on "image and video analysis technology".

"This work will be critical for our broader efforts against manipulated media, including deepfakes", Rosen said, a reference to videos altered using artificial intelligence. Also, there's no clarity on what happens after the 'set period, ' when the user regains the ability to post live videos.

New Zealand tech commentator Paul Breslin had described Facebook's move to tighten the rules around livestreaming as a PR exercise. The initiative isn't legally binding and details will be disclosed after the meeting, Macron's office said in a press briefing.

"There's no word on what the rules are, so that makes it very hard to determine whether or not posts and video content are in breach of the rules". Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s YouTube were widely criticized for failing to quickly remove the video.

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