Institutional investors support anti-extremism effort in wake of Christchurch attack

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Facebook on ipad © Patrick De Grijs /123RF Stock PhotosA group of 55 New Zealand and global institutional investors representing more than NZ$5 trillion in assets under management have added their support to the Christchurch Call.

The initiative, spearheaded by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron, was launched at a summit attended by world leaders in Paris on Wednesday. It sets out voluntary commitments for governments, companies and wider society to work together to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

The New Zealand Super Fund and several more of the country’s government pension funds started the group of investors supporting the call, including a total of 27 New Zealand-based funds and 28 international funds. The initiative continues to welcome new members.

It urges social media companies like Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Twitter Inc. to prevent live-streaming and distribution of violent content on their platforms after the Christchurch terrorist attack in March was live-streamed on Facebook.

“The investor initiative supports the Christchurch Call and part of our engagement with social media companies will involve monitoring and ensuring accountability for the Christchurch Call commitments made,” said Matt Whineray, chief executive officer of the New Zealand Super Fund and spokesperson for the investor group, in a press release. “We look forward to reinforcing the Christchurch Call by engaging directly with the companies themselves to drive change. As shareholders and investors, we will use our collective leverage to raise concerns with the companies’ board and management on these issues.”

Notably, Facebook, along with Twitter, Alphabet, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com, also committed to the Christchurch Call and together released a nine-step plan to “address the abuse of technology to spread terrorist content.”

As to specifically preventing the abuse of live-streaming, the technology companies said they’re committed to identifying appropriate ways to monitor the content and reduce the risk of its use by violent extremists. On Tuesday, Facebook released a change in its policies to restrict people who have broken certain rules from using its live-streaming tool Facebook Live. The company said its “dangerous organizations and individuals” rules, which prevent people or groups that “proclaim a violent mission or are engaged in violence” from having a presence on the platform, would be included in the new policy.

This is an excerpt from an article originally that appeared on CIR’s companion site, Benefitscanada.com. Read the full story here.

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