The Trump regime has decided that openly supporting the online speech rights of white supremacists directly outweighs the rest of us getting hurt or killed, so America refuses to back New Zealand's call for dealing with online extremism.
The United States on Wednesday broke with 18 governments and top American tech firms by declining to endorse a New Zealand-led response to the live-streamed shootings at two Christchurch mosques, saying free-speech concerns prevented the White House from formally signing onto the largest campaign to date targeting extremism online.
The “Christchurch Call," unveiled at an international gathering in Paris, commits foreign countries and tech giants to be more vigilant about the spread of hate on social media. It reflects heightened global frustrations with the inability of Facebook, Google and Twitter to restrain hateful posts, photos and videos that have spawned real-world violence.
Leaders from across the globe, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, pledged to counter online extremism, including through new regulation, and to "encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online.” Companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter, meanwhile, said they’d work more closely to ensure their sites don’t become conduits for terrorism. They also committed to accelerated research and information sharing with governments in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was among those who attended.
The call is named after the New Zealand city where a shooter killed 51 people in a March attack broadcast on Facebook and posted afterward on other social-media sites. Facebook, Google and Twitter struggled to take down copies of the violent video as fast as it spread on the Web, prompting an international backlash from regulators who felt malicious actors had evaded Silicon Valley’s defenses too easily. Before the attack, the shooter also posted a hate-filled manifesto that included references to previous mass killings.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron organized the call to action, part of Ardern’s international plea this year for greater social-media accountability. Along with New Zealand and France, countries such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom endorsed the document, as did tech giants Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
And I know, the First Amendment protects vile speech, and the Supreme Court has made this clear. But the fact this regime openly engages in the very practices this pact tries to stop is the much larger problem.