Varadkar and world leaders to sign online anti-terror pledge

Gathering in Paris for declaration to act against terrorist and violent extremist content

Photograph: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will join the New Zealand PM, President Macron and several other world leaders, as well as representatives of major technology companies, to formally adopt the Christchurch Call to Action. Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

Photograph: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will join the New Zealand PM, President Macron and several other world leaders, as well as representatives of major technology companies, to formally adopt the Christchurch Call to Action. Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is travelling to Paris this afternoon for a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron and, world leaders and technology companies to make a declaration to act against terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Mr Varadkar will also meet New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern. The Christchurch Call to Action, proposed by Ms Ardern after the terrorist attack at a mosque in the New Zealand city in March, will be endorsed by several world leaders and the representatives of big technology companies in Paris today.

The Christchurch attack, in which 51 people were shot dead, was livestreamed on Facebook by the attacker. Other leaders present on Wednesday will include British prime minister Theresa May, Canadian premier Justin Trudeau, as well as the leaders of Indonesia, Norway, Jordan and Senegal. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will also attend.

“The Taoiseach will join Ms Ardern, President Macron and several other world leaders, as well as representatives of major technology companies, to formally adopt the Christchurch Call to Action. This commits governments and online service providers to undertake a series of actions to counter and remove terrorist and violent extremist content online,” said the Irish Government.

“The call will outline commitments from governments, major social media companies and online service providers to prevent the abuse of the internet and halt the dissemination of extremist content online and develop processes to respond rapidly to the spreading of this material following a terrorist event.”

The declaration will be non-binding, but the tech companies will pledge to ensure their platforms do not promote the spread of hate-filled or violent content.

Critics noted, however, that the firms already have rules against the dissemination of such material, which have proved largely ineffective. After the adoption of the declaration, the leaders will attend the closing dinner of the Tech for Good Summit, at which more than 150 business leaders will be present.