Statement on Christchurch Call for Action

May 15, 2019
Office of Science and Technology Policy

The United States stands with the international community in condemning terrorist and violent extremist content online in the strongest terms. Underscored by the horrific terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, we agree with the overarching message of the Christchurch Call for Action, and we thank Prime Minister Ardern and President Macron for organizing this important effort.

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 U.S. policy position remains unchanged and consistent with our long-standing ideals: 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.  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.

We welcome the continued momentum provided by support for the Christchurch Call as we work with international partners towards our mutual objectives for an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet.

Background on Trump Administration Efforts to Combat Terrorist Content Online

In September 2017, the United States and the other 28 members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum endorsed the Zurich-London Recommendations on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism and Terrorism Online, a document laying out non-binding recommendations for combating terrorist content online.

On February 26, 2019, the U.S. joined His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan—one of our most capable and effective partners in developing credible, alternative narratives—for an Aqaba Process meeting along with companies, civil society organizations, and foreign partners to advance our collective terrorism prevention efforts.