The United States has decided not to support the censorship call by 18 governments and five top American tech firms and declined to endorse a New Zealand-led censorship effort responding to the live-streamed shootings at two Christchurch mosques. White
House officials said free-speech concerns prevented them from formally signing onto the largest campaign to date targeting extremism online.
World leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and
Jordan's King Abdullah II, signed the Christchurch Call, which was unveiled at a gathering in Paris that had been organized by French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The governments pledged to counter
online extremism, including through new regulation, and to encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online.
But the White House opted against endorsing the effort, and President Trump did not join the
other leaders in Paris. The White House felt the document could present constitutional concerns, officials there said, potentially conflicting with the First Amendment. Indeed Trump has previously threatened social media out of concern that it's biased
Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter also signed on to the document, pledging to work more closely with one another and governments to make certain their sites do not become conduits for terrorism. Twitter CEO
Jack Dorsey was among the attendees at the conference.
The companies agreed to accelerate research and information sharing with governments in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. They said they'd pursue a nine-point plan of technical remedies
designed to find and combat objectionable content, including instituting more user-reporting systems, more refined automatic detection systems, improved vetting of live-streamed videos and more collective development of organized research and
technologies the industry could build and share.
The companies also promised to implement appropriate checks on live-streaming, with the aim of ensuring that videos of violent attacks aren't broadcast widely, in real time, online. To that end,
Facebook this week announced a new one-strike policy, in which users who violate its rules -- such as sharing content from known terrorist groups -- could be prohibited from using its live-streaming tools.