NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and French President Emmanuel Macron to hold a meeting in Paris on May 15

Following the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, there have been renewed calls to remove terrorism from social media websites. This comes on the heels of reports that the live-streamed attacks are still appearing on social media platforms. The 17-minute video that was created during the attack of the Christchurch was streamed on Facebook.

Now, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden from New Zealand and President Macron of France are trying to meet with social media CEOs to ensure that such terrorist content is removed from the internet in a manner that is faster than what was seen on March 15, 2019. During the time before the attacks were noticed and the content was removed, the video was viewed thousands of times and from all around the world.

For now, the meeting scheduled for May 15 is expected to draw world leaders and some of the top names in tech sites from all around the globe. The expectations are that there will be opening discussions about the appearance of terrorist content and what can be done to remove it before it has an impact on the populations of the sites.

However, in order to make this ability to remove content a reality, both tech sites and agencies who police such content would need to cooperate to reduce the incidence of such events. This would require a new approach to internet monitoring on a global scale, something which has many internet freedom proponents scared. After all, while it is safe to assume that few people want such content available on their sites, the tendency exists for governments to extend their powers too far in the pursuit of safety. The ability to screen posts through government agencies prior to posting would create a dangerous precedent for internet freedom.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed concerns that removing such content would be an attack on the freedom of expression that people hold dearly. “This isn’t about freedom of expression; this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online,” she said in a recent address to reporters.

With the meeting looming on May 15, the reminder of a fresh terrorist attack in Sri Lanka hints at a future in which social media sites can be shut down for an entire country to prevent misinformation from spreading. This was the case in the small nation following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, and it could be a harbinger of things to come for social media sites.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter