Facebook announced yesterday it would tighten access to its livestreaming feature as New Zealand’s premier Jacinda Ardern and French leader Emmanuel Macron prepared to launch the global “Christchurch Call” initiative to tackle the spread of extremism online.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has been under intense pressure since March when a white supremacist gunman used Facebook Live to stream his rampage at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch, which left 51 people dead.
The California-based platform said it would ban Facebook Live users who shared extremist content and seek to reinforce its own internal controls to stop the spread of offensive videos.
“Following the horrific recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand, we’ve been reviewing what more we can do to limit our services from being used to cause harm or spread hate,” Facebook vice-president of integrity Guy Rosen said in a statement.
Ardern and Macron will later issue the Christchurch Call to fight the spread of hateful and terror-related content along with leaders from Britain, Canada, Norway, Jordan and Senegal, who will also be in Paris.
The largely symbolic initiative is intended to keep up the pressure on social media companies who face growing calls from politicians across the world to stop their platforms being abused.
“It’s an action plan, it’s the start of something,” Ardern told CNN in an interview yesterday.
First-time offenders will be suspended from using Live for set periods of time, Facebook said in a statement.
Many countries have already tightened legislation to introduce penalties for companies that fail to take down offensive content once it is flagged by authorities.