On May 15, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron brought together government leaders and representatives of technology companies to announce the “Christchurch Call to Action To Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online.” In response to the Call, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft issued a joint statement. The companies also published nine stepsthey’ll take to implement the Christchurch Call.
The terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March were a horrifying tragedy. And so it is right that we come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence.
Terrorism and violent extremism are complex societal problems that require an all-of-society response. For our part, the commitments we are making today will further strengthen the partnership that Governments, society and the technology industry must have to address this threat.
– Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter
In addition to signing the Christchurch Call, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft are publishing nine steps that they will take to address the abuse of technology to spread terrorist and violent extremist content. These nine steps include five individual actions that each company is committing to take, and a further four collaborative actions they’ll take together.
Here are the nine steps:
Actions to address the abuse of technology to spread terrorist and violent extremist content
As online content sharing service providers, the companies commit to the following:
Five Individual Actions
User Reporting of Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content. Microsoft commit to establishing one or more methods within their online platforms and services for users to report or flag inappropriate content, including terrorist and violent extremist content. Microsoft will ensure that the reporting mechanisms are clear, conspicuous, and easy to use, and provide enough categorical granularity to allow the company to prioritize and act promptly upon notification of terrorist or violent extremist content.
Enhancing Technology. Microsoft commit to continuing to invest in technology that improves their capability to detect and remove terrorist and violent extremist content online, including the extension or development of digital fingerprinting and AI-based technology solutions.
Livestreaming. Microsoft commit to identifying appropriate checks on livestreaming, aimed at reducing the risk of disseminating terrorist and violent extremist content online. These may include enhanced vetting measures (such as streamer ratings or scores, account activity, or validation processes) and moderation of certain livestreaming events where appropriate. Checks on livestreaming necessarily will be tailored to the context of specific livestreaming services, including the type of audience, the nature or character of the livestreaming service, and the likelihood of exploitation.
Transparency Reports. Microsoft commit to publishing on a regular basis transparency reports regarding detection and removal of terrorist or violent extremist content on their online platforms and services and ensuring that the data is supported by a reasonable and explainable methodology.
Four Collaborative Actions
Shared Technology Development. Microsoft commit to working collaboratively across industry, governments, educational institutions, and NGOs to develop a shared understanding of the contexts in which terrorist and violent extremist content is published and to improve technology to detect and remove terrorist and violent extremist content more effectively and efficiently. This will include:
- Work to create robust shared data sets to accelerate machine learning and AI and sharing insights and learnings from the data.
- Development of open source or other shared tools to detect and remove terrorist or violent extremist content.
- Enablement of all companies, large and small, to contribute to the collective effort and to better address detection and removal of this content on their platforms and services.
Crisis Protocols. Microsoft commits to working collaboratively across industry, governments, and NGOs to create a protocol for responding to emerging or active events, on an urgent basis, so relevant information can be quickly and efficiently shared, processed, and acted upon by all stakeholders with minimal delay. This includes the establishment of incident management teams that coordinate actions and broadly distribute information that is in the public interest.
Education. Microsoft commits to working collaboratively across industry, governments, educational institutions, and NGOs to help understand and educate the public about terrorist and extremist violent content online. This includes educating and reminding users about how to report or otherwise not contribute to the spread of this content online.
Combatting Hate and Bigotry. Microsoft commits to working collaboratively across industry to attack the root causes of extremism and hate online. This includes providing greater support for relevant research – with an emphasis on the impact of online hate on offline discrimination and violence – and supporting capacity and capability of NGOs working to challenge hate and promote pluralism and respect online.