Responding to Crises

Enabling a rapid and coordinated response to a crisis is central to the Christchurch Call. This page explains what crisis response means, what has been achieved, and the work we have underway.

What is crisis response?

Crisis or incident response is how governments, online service providers, and civil society groups work together to limit the dissemination of terrorist and violent extremist content online following a real-world attack with an online component. 

A major focus of our crisis response work has been developing, testing, and improving protocols for crisis situations. These protocols set out when and how we will act and communicate across different sectors. This includes international, regional and domestic actions, in collaboration with civil society and community groups. The protocols include guidance of when specific cross-industry processes and tools will be used to enable swift detection and removal of content on different services. An example of this is hash-sharing, where terrorist and violent extremist content is given a unique hash, like a digital fingerprint, which is shared across services, making it easier for automated systems to identify that content.  

Why is this important?

The objective of the Call Community’s work on crisis response is to deny terrorists and violent extremists the ability to use the internet to draw attention to crimes and spread messages of hate. The goal is to prevent and reduce harm to vulnerable individuals and groups in an immediate sense, and to ensure that terrorist or violent extremist content does not persist online and contribute to ongoing trauma and future attacks.

The focus for crisis response is perpetrator or accomplice-produced content. This content is often graphic - depicting, describing, or advocating an act of terrorism or extreme violence. Because it is so harmful, this kind of content is illegal in many jurisdictions and violates the terms of service or community standards of online service providers that support the Call.

Recently, the conflict in Gaza and Israel has given rise to significant volumes of terrorist and violent extremist content, and content that glorifies or promotes violence, antisemitism, and Islamophobia. At the 2023 Leaders Summit, Leaders acknowledged the fear and pain caused by this, and related content inciting violence and hatred towards Jewish, Muslim, Middle Eastern, and all impacted communities and individuals around the world.  

What has been achieved?

The Call Community has developed a suite of interlocking crisis response protocols.

The Christchurch Call Crisis Response Protocol was the first, overarching initiative. It establishes:

  • what constitutes a crisis
  • the actions different sectors of the Call Community will take
  • how we will communicate with one another
  • when a crisis is over.

Importantly, the Call Crisis Response Protocol also contains guidance on principles to protect and respect human rights and a free, open and secure internet, and to ensure transparency and accountability, including through debriefs following a crisis response.

Other protocols include the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) Content Incident Protocol, which was developed to operate alongside the Call Crisis Response Protocol. This has subsequently evolved into a GIFCT Incident Response Framework.

The European Union, New Zealand, and Australia, among others, also have domestic protocols. They can be activated singly or in combination, depending on the location of an attack, who has been impacted by it, and how related content is manifesting online.

These protocols are dynamic. They are tested, expanded, and refined based on experience and as real-world threats, technical capabilities, and policy contexts change.

In line with workplan endorsed by Leaders in 2021, members of the Call Community have undertaken tabletop exercises and a mapping and gap analysis for all crisis protocols, and established human rights indicators to guide crisis response practitioners. Many online service providers have also further developed their response capabilities.

At the Leaders’ Summit 2023, Leaders welcomed progress over the last year to bring more online service providers into the Call. They welcomed Tech Against Terrorism’s expansion of the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform, supported by funding from Canada, and Australia’s announcement of funding for 24/7 crisis response capability, which together improve support for small firms and close gaps in crisis response.

Crisis response in action: Buffalo attack 2022

The value of the Call Community’s work on crisis response was clear after the Buffalo terrorist attack in May 2022. The perpetrator’s livestream was terminated quickly and the GIFCT activated its Content Incident Protocol to enable hash-sharing among its members. New Zealand’s Classification Office made a swift interim determination that the video and manifesto were objectionable and therefore illegal to possess or distribute in that country. Based on that determination, Tech Against Terrorism was then able to incorporate the content into its Terrorist Content Analytics Platform. This rapid and coordinated response meant that the content was much less prevalent on mainstream platforms.

Current priorities

In the context of the conflict in Israel and Gaza, governments and online service providers reaffirmed their Call commitments to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online, including on crisis response, and to do so transparently and in a manner that protects and respects human rights and a free, open, and secure internet.

The priority now is to keep strengthening the crisis response system so that it can adapt to new circumstances and challenges. The Call Community is working to: 

  • Review our crisis response systems to ensure we can respond rapidly, effectively and in a rights-affirming manner to online crises involving the proliferation of terrorist or violent extremist content, including those arising from complex, protracted real-world incidents and conflicts, or involving bystander content

  • Bring diverse companies – both large and small - into crisis response

  • Address the role of alt-tech or unmoderated platforms in disseminating content

  • Extend participation in the Christchurch Call Crisis Response Protocol. Include active roles for civil society, researchers and communities

  • Continue improving human rights protections and transparency

  • Ensure that protocols are regularly tested and improved, including through drawing on the lessons derived from debriefs.


See the 2021 Christchurch Call Crisis Response Workplan [PDF, 958 KB].

See the full text of the Christchurch Call commitments.

Related websites:

The GIFCT Incident Response(external link) and GIFCT Content Incident Protocol (external link)

The GIFCT crisis response outputs on Tabletop Exercises, protocol mapping and human rights indicators(external link) (external link)

The EU Terrorst Content Online information page(external link) 

The New Zealand Crisis Response Process(external link)