Significant global progress made under Christchurch Call

14 April 2021

A stocktake undertaken by France and New Zealand shows significant global progress under the Christchurch Call towards its goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. 

A stocktake undertaken by France and New Zealand shows significant global progress under the Christchurch Call towards its goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. 

The findings of the report released today reinforce the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, with countries, companies and civil society working together to achieve results.

Since its launch in Paris on 15 May 2019, more than 50 countries and international organisations, together with ten tech companies, are now supporters of the Call and have undertaken a wide range of initiatives in their own field to deliver on their shared commitments. 

Three crisis response protocols are now operational that did not exist at the time of the Christchurch attacks. They enable a rapid and coordinated response to online events between governments and companies.

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) has been reformed as an independent entity to bring together the technology industry, government, civil society, and academia to counter terrorist and violent extremist activity online.

Governments, companies and civil society groups are working together in ways that they were not before.

And there is an increased focus on research into terrorism and violent extremist content online that provides a strong base to continue to develop our efforts. 

The two leaders will seek to re-convene supporters around the second anniversary of the Call, to focus on our next steps for progress, as identified in the report.

“After the 15 March terrorist attacks, New Zealand said that what happened here should not happen anywhere else and I’m encouraged by the progress made since the atrocities committed in 2019,” Jacinda Ardern said.

”The focus of the Christchurch Call community must be on making tangible progress, and the findings from the stocktake report are promising.”

“The more tech platforms there are committed to implementing the commitments of the Call, the  stronger we will be collectively in limiting the use of the internet by terrorists to plan and spread their hate - and preventing terrorist acts from happening in the first place,” Emmanuel Macron said. 

Both leaders said increasing tech company support would be a priority for the New Zealand and French Call team in the coming year, as would progress on understanding more about the effects of algorithmic processes and responding effectively to the full range of terrorist and violent extremist content, including in emergency responses.

“I have no doubt that progress to date has already made it harder for those pushing terrorist or violent extremist content online,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“While our progress in the first year has been good there is still more work to do.

“We must continue to work towards better understanding the algorithms that promote content online, to identify intervention points and prevent exploitation by malicious actors.”

Emmanuel Macron said he wanted to see providers take a stronger stance on content delivered across all of their services, in addition to that hosted on social media platforms.

“The Call community can be proud of its work so far on this issue, but there remains more to do.” Emmanuel Macron said “it remains important that Call supporters keep delivering on substance, while protecting a free, open and secure internet and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“We will continue to honour those who were killed and injured on 15 March, and since, by maintaining our focus on these efforts,and trying to prevent what happened to them from happening to anyone else” Jacinda Ardern said.

The report 

An extensive stocktake exercise carried out by Call founding partners, New Zealand and France, has canvassed the progress made by Governments and tech companies in the Call’s first year.

Notes for the Editor

Since the Christchurch Call was established

  • More than 50 countries and international organisations have supported the Call.
  • It has ten tech companies in support. Most recently, the Call welcomed Japan-based messaging company LINE Corporation, and support from – a video game journalism website based in France - was announced during the Call event at the Paris Peace Forum.
  • Three crisis response protocols are operational, that did not exist at the time of the Christchurch attacks. The Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol, the company protocol and the European protocol, provide an interlinking communications network that enables a rapid and coordinated response to online events, between Governments and companies.
  • The Call has also been the driving impetus for GIFCT reform, giving it independent status and dedicated resourcing.
  • The GIFCT will carry forward substantive progress on a number of the Call commitments. New Zealand and France sit on a number of bodies within the GIFCT where policy work is already being carried out, including the Independent Advisory Committee and working groups dealing with Crisis Response and content-sharing alorithms, processes and positive interventions and transparency.