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White House says it will not sign international agreement to combat online extremism

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by Dareh Gregorian

The United States says it supports international effort to find ways to stop social media from spreading.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron praised Christchurch being spearheaded by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President.

"The United States is in a position to endorse terrorism and violent extremism," the White House said, adding that it is "not currently in a position to join the endorsement."

That makes the U.S. to outlier. Allies including the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Italy, India, Germany and Spain are all listed as signing on to the effort. Numerous technology giants are involved as well, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube.

In his statement, the White House suggested that the first amendment concerns the trump administration by joining in the agreement.

"We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while continuing to express the freedom of expression and freedom of the press," the statement said.

In an op-ed in The New York Times this past weekend, Ardern said the "Christchurch Call" would be a voluntary framework that "commits signatories to counter the drivers of terrorism and put in place specific measures to prevent the uploading of terrorist content. "

It's named after the New Zealand city where a white supremacist attacked two mosquitoes in a shooting spree that left 51 people dead. Parts of the March 15 attacks were livestreamed on Facebook.

The attacker's digital footprint along with his or her own claims about how to make their own way out of their hands.

Monday, Facebook announced that it would be implementing new rules around the company's livestream tool in an effort to limit its use to "cause harm or spread hate. "

In a rare joint statement, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft said, "The terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, March were a horrifying tragedy." And so it is right that we come together, resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence. "

The companies said "we are taking the responsibility to apply the abuse of technology to spread terrorist content, including the continued improvement of our ability to detect and remove this content from our services, and more transparency for content policies and removals. "

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