Twitter Current Affairs - 2019

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India Signs ‘Christchurch Call to Action’ Initiative

India has recently joined a major global initiative called ‘Christchurch call to action’ to combat extremism and terrorism online and make internet a safe and secure place. It was signed by a group of governments and major tech companies at a summit in Paris.

  • Background: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron recently launched an ambitious new initiative called “Christchurch Call”, which is aimed at curbing extremism online. The initiative was pushed by Ms Ardern in backdrop of extremist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand city on 15 March 2019, in which a white supremacist gunned down 51 people and broadcasted live footage on Facebook. This gave rise to growing realisation that current abuse of social media by extremists must be countered.
  • Participants: A total of 18 countries including European Union (EU) supported the initiative along representatives of online giants like Facebook, Google, YouTube, Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter.
  • Objective: To curb online extremism by stopping abuse of Internet by extremists. It also calls for an open, free and secure internet to foster economic growth, enhance social inclusiveness and promote connectivity.
  • Argument: The dissemination of such extremist content online has adverse impacts on the human rights of victims, on collective security of individuals involved as well as people all over the world.

About Christchurch Call Agreement

  • It is a non-binding set of agreements to combat spread of hate and violent content online. It was signed by a group of governments and major tech companies at a summit in Paris
  • Unique: It is believed to be first document of its type like one which is signed by both major governments and private companies.

Mandate:

  • All signatories pledge to eliminate violent, terrorist and extremist content on social media as well as other online platforms. But pledge does not contain any regulatory or enforcement measures, and it would be completely up to each individual country and company to decide on how it would honour its voluntary commitments.
  • The pledge also does not include the definition of ‘violent extremist content’, and it is up to individual companies to decide on what constituted objectionable material.
  • It asks member nations to adopt and enforce laws which ban objectionable material, and set guidelines on how each countries traditional media can report acts of terrorism without amplifying them.
  • It asks tech companies to comply with their terms of service, and re-evaluate their algorithms which direct online users towards extremist content and at the same time commit to redirecting people looking for extremist material online.

NOTE:

The United States declined to join the Christchurch call to action initiative. Following are the signatories Nations:

EU Parliament Passes Copyright Reforms Law

The European Parliament (EU) has passed the controversial EU copyrights law. The law is expected to give a fillip to the traditional media which was losing the game against the online platforms like Google, Twitter and Facebook. This copyright law is expected to aid the traditional media to gain some additional revenue.

Why the law had become controversial?

  • Article 11: The article is dubbed as “link tax”. It mandates Internet giants like Facebook and Google to pay news organisations to use their headlines on their platforms.
  • Article 13: The article is dubbed as “upload filter”. It mandates online platforms like Facebook and YouTube to restrict users from sharing unlicensed copyrighted material. The article also makes the online platforms liable for copyright violations.

Those backing the law argue that if properly implemented by member states the law would go a long way in safeguard quality journalism by combating misinformation and fake news. Those opposing the law fear that the law would lead to clamp down on the open internet and online censorship.

Experts say that even though the two decade copyright law is improved it may lead to uncertainties and may hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies. The digital platforms are looking at the details of the law. So any conclusive arguments about the possible impacts would be too early at this stage.