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New Zealand, France Plan in Effort to Stop Promotion of Terrorism, Violent Extremism on Social Media

A lone gunman killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, while livestreaming the massacre on Facebook

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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

In the wake of the Christchurch attack, New Zealand said on Wednesday that it would work with France in an effort to stop social media from being used to promote terrorism and violent extremism.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement that she will co-chair a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on May 15 that will seek to have world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge, called the Christchurch Call, to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

A lone gunman killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15, while livestreaming the massacre on Facebook.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with 50 counts of murder for the mass shooting.

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Students light candles as they gather for a vigil to commemorate victims of Friday’s shooting, outside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 18, 2019. (VOA)

“It’s critical that technology platforms like Facebook are not perverted as a tool for terrorism, and instead become part of a global solution to countering extremism,” Ardern said in the statement.

“This meeting presents an opportunity for an act of unity between governments and the tech companies,” she added.

The meeting will be held alongside the Tech for Humanity meeting of G7 digital ministers, of which France is the chair, and France’s separate Tech for Good summit, both on 15 May, the statement said.

Ardern said at a press conference later on Wednesday that she has spoken with executives from a number of tech firms including Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Google and few other companies.

“The response I’ve received has been positive. No tech company, just like no government, would like to see violent extremism and terrorism online,” Ardern said at the media briefing, adding that she had also spoken with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg directly on the topic.

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Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2.7 billion users, has faced criticism since the Christchurch attack that it failed to tackle extremism. VOA

A Facebook spokesman said the company looks forward to collaborating with government, industry and safety experts on a clear framework of rules.

“We’re evaluating how we can best support this effort and who among top Facebook executives will attend,” the spokesman said in a statement sent by email. Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 2.7 billion users, has faced criticism since the Christchurch attack that it failed to tackle extremism.

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One of the main groups representing Muslims in France has said it was suing Facebook and YouTube, a unit of Alphabet’s Google, accusing them of inciting violence by allowing the streaming of the Christchurch massacre on their platforms.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said last month that the company was looking to place restrictions on who can go live on its platform based on certain criteria. (VOA)

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Political Ad Spend Hits Rs 27.7 cr on Facebook as Polls End

Facebook had said that it was removing 10 lakh fake accounts a day in India

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, political parties in India spent a total of Rs 27.73 crore on Facebook for posting political ads on the platform as the seven-phase general election ended on May 19.

From February 19 to May 19, political parties posted 124,094 ads on Facebook to reach out to their audiences, showed the latest data on Facebook Ad Library for India.

On Facebook, the BJP alone spent more than Rs 4 crore – 200 per cent more than the Congress which spend about Rs 1.8 crore.

Other big spenders were regional parties such as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the YSR Congress and Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Facebook’s Ad Library, a searchable database, includes ads related to politics and issues of national importance run on Facebook or Instagram.

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FILE – The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

Supporters and affiliates of political parties account for most of the spending on the social media platforms.

The Election Commission of India has announced that among the posts taken down by various social media platforms, Facebook took down 650 posts.

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Of the posts taken down by Facebook, 482 were political posts during the “silence period” – 48 hours prior to polling, 73 political ads during the silence period, two violations of the Model Code of Conduct, 43 cases of voter misinformation, 28 were against public morality and decency, 11 were exit polls, and 11 were related to hate speech and undue influence.

Facebook had said that it was removing 10 lakh fake accounts a day in India. (IANS)