United States declines to join New Zealand-led initiative to curb extremism online

The United States declined to join a New-Zealand led initiative aimed at encouraging tech companies and countries to curb extremism online. The initiative was named after the New Zealand city where a deadly terrorist attack took place on May 15, the non-binding agreement 'Christchurch Call' has been signed by 18 leaders from around the globe, including British PM Theresa May and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, reported The Washington Post. White House in a statement said, "While the United States is not currently in a position to join the endorsement, we continue to support the overall goals reflected in the call. We will continue to engage governments, industry and civil society to counter terrorist content on the internet." The statement cited freedom of expression and freedom of the press as reasons to not join the agreement. 'Christchurch Call' was announced on Wednesday in Paris at a meeting of digital leaders of G7 nations, two months after the mass shooting on two mosques in Christchurch that left 51 people dead and about as many wounded. Notably, social media giant Facebook has signed on to the agreement and also introduced new rules for its live streaming feature. The company has also announced that it will invest USD 7.5 million in a research partnership with universities that would study ways to improve the existing image and video analysis technology. The summit was co-organised by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.