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New Zealand and France seek an end to terrorism and violent extremism online

The leaders of New Zealand and France said on Wednesday they will work together in an effort to stop social media from being used to promote terrorism and violent extremism.

Leaders have invited the major social media companies to a May 15 summit in Paris

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she has spoken with executives from firms like Google, Facebook and Twitter. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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

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.

"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.

At a press conference later, Ardern said 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.

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

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questions over how his platform deals with extremist material. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

"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.

One of the main groups representing Muslims in France has said it is 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.

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