NZ$5 trillion investor group supports Christchurch Call

NZ Super's initiative to pressure social media companies and governments to eliminate terrorist content online has achieved a new milestone, reaching NZ$5 trillion in assets under management and throwing its weight behind a new movement.

At a summit in Paris attended by major tech companies and governments, the Christchurch Call was launched by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Christchurch Call outlines voluntary commitments that governments and online service providers can agree to which have the aim of preventing terrorist and violent extremist content from spreading online.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Daily Motion and Amazon are among the tech companies that have agreed to the Christchurch Call.

As part of their agreement they say they will take specific measures to prevent the upload of terrorist and extremist content and implement immediate measures to mitigate the risk of such content being spread through livestreaming.

The tech companies also promised to review algorithms that may drive users towards or amplify terrorist content.

Governments who agree to the call will commit to enforcing laws that prohibit the production and dissemination of terrorist content.

This comes after the Australian government already passed new social media laws as a response to the Christchurch attack. The new laws impose heavy fines, make reporting "violent and abhorrent content" to the Australian Federal Police mandatory and could see social media executives face jail time.

The investor group that was started by NZ Super after the Christchurch terrorist attacks, with the aim of pressuring Facebook and Google to stop the spread of content like the video of the Christchurch attacks, has given its full support to the Christchurch Call.

NZ Super chief executive Matt Whineray said: "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."

The group of New Zealand investors was joined by others around the world as the pressure they were applying to Facebook, Google and Twitter gained attention.

The investors have made it clear they want to see social media companies strengthen control of the streaming and distribution of violent and extreme content, after being horrified by the spread of the Christchurch terror attack video.

"It is important there is a globally coordinated response to the attack, which is why it is positive to see governments and tech companies coming together to search for solutions," said Whineray.

"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."

The investor initiative now has 55 funds participating including the original group of NZ Super, Accident Compensation Corporation, Government Superannuation Fund, National Provident Fund and Kiwi Wealth.

AMP Financial Services New Zealand, ANZ New Zealand Investments, JBWere NZ, Milford Asset Management, Westpac/BT Funds management, AMP Capital International, Australian Ethical, HESTA, Church of England Pensions Board, Media Super, Mercer Global and VicSuper have since joined the cause - amongst many more.

Read more: Christchurch CallNZ SuperFacebookGoogleTwitterMatt WhinerayNew Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda ArdernAccident Compensation CorporationAmazonAMP Capital InternationalAMP Financial Services New ZealandANZ New Zealand InvestmentsAustralian EthicalAustralian Federal PoliceChurch of England Pensions BoardDaily MotionFrench President Emmanuel MacronGovernment Superannuation FundHESTAJBWere NZKiwi WealthMedia SuperMercer GlobalMilford Asset ManagementNational Provident FundParisVicSuperWestpac/BT Funds
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