Club de Madrid endorses global pledge to combat online extremism

World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid (WLA-CdM) supports the efforts led by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden, and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, to strengthen global action against online extremism. The so-called Christchurch is a voluntary commitment from governments and tech companies to improve efforts to address the spread of extremist content in online platforms. The call was joined by countries including Australia, Canada, Sweden, India, Germany alongside the five major tech companies; Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter and Microsoft. 

This joint, global, non-binding effort comes as a response to the terrorist attack that took place in Christchurch on 15 March, when the attacker live-streamed his actions on Facebook. 

“The Call outlines collective, voluntary commitments from Governments and online service providers intended to address the issue of terrorist and violent extremist content online and to prevent the abuse of the internet as occurred in and after the Christchurch attacks”, says the call. 

The business models that sustain online platforms, content algorithms, have created echo chambers that push online citizens away from multi-faceted analysis into ideological one-sidedness. This is something that governments aim to discuss with tech companies, as Jacinda Arden explains below. 

Serge Stroobants, of the Institute for Peace and Economics, a partnering institution of WLA-CdM, warns about how non-state actors could use technology to increase the harmful impact of terrorist actions. Watch how Mr Stroobants puts it below during a video interview at the WLA-CdM’s secretariat, where he presented the 2018 Global Terrorism Index last January. 

World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid has long been concerned with violent extremism. Members have led numerous Policy Dialogues to counter the rise of violent extremism while respecting democracy and the rule of law. Similarly, the organization has been leading an initiative in tackling the spread of disinformation and hate speech online. Its Members are increasingly growing concerned with the rise of far-right extremism and how online platforms are being used by some to spread hateful content, leading to the polarization of our societies. 

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The Christchurch call: full text

Joint Statement in Support of Christchurch Call by Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter