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New Zealand and France Look to Banish Terrorists from Social Media

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PARIS – New Zealand and France will work together to banish terrorists from social media networks, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Wednesday.

Both countries are hosting a meeting with tech companies and world leaders to block radicalized terrorists from social media. It comes in the wake of the March shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron will chair a meeting with world leaders and tech companies in May, her office said.

The announcement follows a series of actions by Ardern in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch that killed 50 people. The alleged perpetrator live-streamed the attack on social media.

“The March 15 terrorist attacks saw social media used in an unprecedented way as a tool to promote an act of terrorism and hate. We are asking for a show of leadership to ensure social media cannot be used again the way it was in the March 15 terrorist attack,” Ardern said in a statement.

“We all need to act, and that includes social media providers taking more responsibility for the content that is on their platforms, and taking action so that violent extremist content cannot be published and shared.”

Hardline approach

Ardern wants to stop terrorists from using social media to organize and promote terrorism and violent extremism, or distribute images of violence.

New Zealand has taken a hardline approach to people sharing footage of the Christchurch mosque shootings, which spread rapidly through social media despite attempts to stamp it out.

The meeting was also announced by the Elysee, which said it would take place on the second convening of the “Tech for Good” conference that Macron initiated last year.

Meanwhile, as the death toll from the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka rose to 321 on Tuesday, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility and released images that purported to show the attackers, while the country’s prime minister warned that several suspects armed with explosives are still at large.

Another top government official said the suicide bombings at the churches, hotels and other sites were carried out by Islamic fundamentalists in apparent retaliation for the New Zealand mosque massacres last month that a white supremacist has been charged with carrying out.

By Deutsche Welle

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