The New Zealand Prime Minister says to fight hatred and study social media algorithms

The New Zealand Prime Minister says to fight hatred and study social media algorithms


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that world leaders and technology companies who want to root out violent extremism online need to focus on understanding social media algorithms that drive the content.

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Saturday that world leaders and technology companies who want to root out violent extremism online need to focus on understanding social media algorithms that drive the content.

Ardern spoke at a virtual summit marking the second anniversary of the global initiative to end online hatred, the Christchurch Call, launched in 2019 by Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron after a white supremacist killed 51 people in two mosques in New Zealand had Christchurch city live streaming its rampage on Facebook.

Since then, more than 50 countries, international organizations and technology companies have supported the initiative, including companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft.

“The existence of algorithms themselves is not necessarily the problem, but whether they are used ethically or not. This is one of the biggest priorities for the community in addition to the expansion of the network itself in the next year,” said Ardern after the forum at a press conference .

According to Ardern, major technology companies at the forum expressed a real desire to use algorithms for positive interventions. However, she did not discuss how companies would change the use of algorithms that promote harmful content and lead to radicalization.

The Christchurch Call was first joined by the United States, which made a policy change two years after former President Donald Trump’s administration refused to attend on freedom of speech concerns.

The event was attended by world leaders such as Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Global Internet Counter Terrorism Forum (GIFCT), an NGO founded by Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube that joined the Christchurch Call, said progress had been made since 2019.

The agency has responded to over 140 incidents since 2019, with member companies sharing information and situational awareness to understand whether an attack has a particular online dimension, it said in a separate statement.

(With contributions from agencies)

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