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Google and YouTube join NZ government to host 'Christchurch Call' workshop

Google and YouTube join NZ government to host 'Christchurch Call' workshop

Scenario testing will help ensure new shared crisis response protocol is fit for purpose

Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand Prime Minister)

Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand Prime Minister)

Credit: Reuters

Governments and technology companies are holding a two-day workshop in Wellington to test the Christchurch Call "shared crisis response protocol".

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern today announced the workshop, which is hosted by YouTube/Google and aims to refine and strengthen the online response in the event of a terrorist attack.

Companies, governments, civil society experts and NGOs will work through a series of fictional scenarios designed to be both confronting and take into account evolving risks, to ensure the protocol and others like it are fit for purpose.

“The March 15 terror attack showed the lengths terrorists and those who support them will go to magnify their harm beyond the borders of any single country,” Ardern said.

“Social media was used in an unprecedented way as a tool to promote an act of terrorism and hate. We are working together to ensure that doesn’t happen again."

The shared crisis response protocol was announced by Ardern and president Emmanuel Macron on 23 September, at a series of events during the UN general assembly leaders’ week.

Ardern said she was confident companies and governments were better prepared to respond quickly, and in a coordinated way, to prevent the mass dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content online.

The workshop is about ensuring the crisis response protocol is an effective tool that will help prevent social media being used again in the way it was on March 15, Ardern said.

“We understand the importance of partnership and continued collaboration, and that shared initiatives are crucial to prevent and respond to abuse of digital platforms,” said Gautam Anand, managing director of YouTube Asia Pacific.

“We are fully committed to maintaining YouTube as a responsible platform, and to working collectively with other companies, NGOs, governments and civil society experts in combating the use of online platforms for harmful activity,” Anand said.

As part of the Christchurch call to action, governments and online service providers made a commitment to “develop processes allowing governments and online service providers to respond rapidly, effectively and in a coordinated manner to the dissemination of terrorist or violent extremist content following a terrorist event.

Newsroom reported yesterday the Christchurch Call had expanded to include 48 countries and major techs Facebook, Google, and Microsoft among others.


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