The Christchurch Call Agreement: A Step Towards Combating Online Extremism

In May 2019, a tragic incident took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a gunman opened fire at two mosques, killing 51 people and injuring 49 others. The attacker livestreamed the entire attack on Facebook, which resulted in the spread of the horrifying footage and the glorification of the act of terrorism online. This incident brought to light the issue of online extremism and the need for global cooperation to tackle it.

In response to this, the leaders of New Zealand and France initiated the Christchurch Call agreement. The agreement is a voluntary commitment by governments and tech companies to take measures to restrict the spread of terrorist and extremist content online.

The Christchurch Call agreement aims to prevent the exploitation of social media platforms by extremists to promote and spread terrorist content. The agreement includes a pledge to take concrete steps towards addressing the issue, including:

1. Developing algorithms and filters to remove violent content from social media platforms.

2. Creating a framework to prevent the live streaming of terrorist and extremist content.

3. Monitoring and moderating social media platforms to prevent the spread of violent and extremist content.

4. Collaborating with government agencies to detect and remove extremist content.

5. Educating users about responsible online behavior, including the importance of reporting extremist content.

The agreement has been endorsed by 48 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, the UK, and the US. Tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter have also signed on to the agreement.

However, there are critics of the Christchurch Call agreement who claim that it infringes on freedom of speech. They argue that the agreement could lead to censorship and the suppression of legitimate political discourse. They also question the effectiveness of the agreement, pointing out that it is a voluntary commitment, which means that companies and governments can opt out if they choose to do so.

Despite the criticisms, the Christchurch Call agreement is an important step towards combatting online extremism. It highlights the need for global cooperation to address the issue and encourages governments and tech companies to take responsibility for the content on their platforms. While it may not be a perfect solution, it is a good start towards creating a safer and more responsible online community.