Sep 20, 2019

More countries to sign onto Christchurch Call against online extremism

People walk past flowers and tributes displayed in memory of the mosque massacre victims in Christchurch. Photo: Sanka Vidanagama/AFP/Getty Images

The Christchurch Call, an effort to reduce violent extremist content online that was launched by governments and tech companies in the wake of the Christchurch, New Zealand, shootings, has gained fresh support.

Driving the news: More countries are expected to soon sign onto the pledge — with the new additions expected to be announced next week at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The big picture: The pledge already has the backing of most European countries, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, along with tech companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter.

  • The U.S. government has not signed on, citing First Amendment concerns.

What they're saying: "You're going to see more governments signing onto the Christchurch Call. You're going to hear about more involvement and more involvement even from our own government," Microsoft President Brad Smith said during our interview at the Churchill Club this week.

  • But that doesn't mean the U.S. will become a full signatory, Smith said, when I pressed him.
  • "I don't think they'll sign on a week from now, but they're engaging," he said.

Go deeper: Christchurch shooting video puts platforms on the spot

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Brad Smith discusses antitrust probe's impact on Microsoft

Axios' Ina Fried with Microsoft President Brad Smith. Photo: Ed Jay Photography for Churchill Club

On Monday, I asked Microsoft president Brad Smith, who is all too familiar with antitrust battles, whether he thinks the antitrust investigation caused Microsoft to miss shifts in technology, such as the iPhone.

Why it matters: Microsoft wasn't broken up, as one judge initially ordered, but it spent years battling in court and ultimately was forced by regulators around the globe to pay fines and offer Windows customers in some places the ability to choose a different browser.

Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

For tech, it's all hard problems now

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The tech industry spent the last two decades connecting the world and getting computers into every home and hand — but that's turning out to have been the easy part. Now, every problem tech companies face is fiendishly hard.

Driving the news: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unloaded on Facebook Monday:

"Facebook has incredible power to affect elections and our national debate. Mark Zuckerberg is telling employees that he views a Warren administration as an “existential” threat to Facebook. The public deserves to know how Facebook intends to use their influence in this election."
— Sen. Warren, on Twitter

German synagogue shooting streamed on Amazon's Twitch, leaves 2 dead

Police block access to a street near the scene of a shooting that has left two people dead. Photo: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images

The alleged shooter who killed 2 people outside a synagogue in Halle, Germany, on Wednesday morning used the platform Twitch to livestream the attack, Amazon confirmed to CNBC.

Why it matters: 2,200 people viewed the recording of the killings, and the video was accessible on the platform for 30 minutes before Twitch flagged and removed it, according to the New York Times.

Go deeperArrowOct 9, 2019