The U.S. on Wednesday declined to join an international initiative aimed at tackling the spread of terror online, citing concerns the pact would violate free speech protections, The Washington Post reports.
The document was signed by Australia, France, Canada, and the UK, among others, and was negotiated by New Zealand and French officials following the mass shooting at the Christchurch mosque in New Zealand earlier this year that left 51 dead.
Signees pledged to counter online terrorism, including through new regulation, and to “encourage media outlets to apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online.”
U.S. tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Twitter also signed the deal, saying it was “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 White House said it would “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.”
“We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards that forbid the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes,” it added.
It also said 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.”