Reversing the decision of former president Donald Trump, the Biden administration has announced that the United States will join a New Zealand-led global campaign to stamp out violent extremism online.

The initiative was launched by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 after a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch while live-streaming his rampage on Facebook.

Biden administration spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement on Friday the United States would join the “Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online”.

“Countering the use of the internet by terrorists and violent extremists to radicalise and recruit is a significant priority for the United States,” the statement added.

“Joining the coalition of governments and companies that have endorsed the Christchurch Call to Action reinforces the need for collective action.”

Ardern said on Saturday the US had been a “constructive, engaged partner on many Call-related issues since its launch” and the announcement was a “formalisation of that relationship and a commitment for us to work even more closely”.

The US cited free speech protections when it declined to join the campaign in 2019, and “will not take steps that would violate the freedoms of speech and association protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, nor violate reasonable expectations of privacy”, Psaki added in the statement.

Psaki said the US will participate in a virtual summit on May 14.


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