“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 White House said in a statement.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron announced the Christchurch Call earlier Wednesday in Paris at a meeting of digital leaders for the G7 nations, just two months after the March 15 mass shootings on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, left 51 dead and many wounded.
The US thanked Ardern and Macron “for organizing this important effort” in its Wednesday statement, noting that the administration “(agrees) with the overarching message” in the nonbinding agreement.
The statement condemned terrorist and violent extremist content online “in the strongest terms,” however, it cited freedom of expression and freedom of the press as reasons it would not be joining the agreement.
“We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards that forbid the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes. We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” the statement read.
It continued: “Further, we maintain that the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech, and thus we emphasize the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging.”
The Trump administration has been involved in efforts to end online terrorist content, including its September 2017 endorsement of the Zurich-London Recommendations on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism Online.
CNN’s Tara John and Heather Kelly contributed to this report.