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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the Christchurch Call international leaders' summitin Wellington, New Zealand, on Saturday. Photo: Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday called on Big Tech to focus on the "ethical use of algorithms" to prevent social media users from becoming radicalized into extremist behavior.

Why it matters: Last year's official inquiry into New Zealand's deadliest modern mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques in March 2019 found the terrorist had become radicalized while viewing white supremacist content on YouTube and other online sources.

  • Algorithms, formulas for computer-based decision making, are responsible for what we get shown on social media, and lawmakers and regulators in the U.S. and around the world are taking up issues related to algorithms and machine learning.

The big picture: Ardern made the comments during a meeting convened jointly by New Zealand and France of political leaders including Secretary of State Tony Blinken and leading tech executives to discuss efforts to address terrorism and violent extremist content online, as part of the Christchurch Call.

What they're saying: The New Zealand prime minister said "probably the biggest focus" for the group over the next year would be the issue of social media users potentially being exposed to further extremist content through recommendations.

  • "Let's have that conversation around the ethical use of algorithms, and how they can be used in a positive way and for positive interventions," Ardern said.
  • "When we look at the environment in which the terrorist for March 15 was radicalized, even in that period in those two years there has been significant change by many of the platforms. Algorithms are where many of us are looking to."
  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who took part in the Christchurch Call meeting. tweeted that the company looked forward to continuing to work with the group "to prevent terrorism and violent extremism."
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

U.S. joins international effort to curb online extremism

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the Christchurch Call international leaders' summit on May 15.

The U.S. for the first time attended a summit on Saturday with tech giants and world leaders as part of an international effort to stop extremist violence from proliferating online while also protecting freedom of speech, AP reports.

Why it matters: The effort was created by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron in the aftermath of the 2019 Christchurch, New Zealand, shootings and deadly attacks in France that were streamed or shared on social media platforms.

DHS: Extremists may take advantage as U.S. relaxes COVID restrictions

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas issued an advisory Friday warning of threats posed by domestic terrorists and other violent extremists, including those who look to exploit America's reopening.

Why it matters: Mayorkas previously called domestic extremism the "single greatest terrorism-related threat" in the U.S. In January, an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol killed at least five people.

Pacific Northwest soon to be ground zero for record-shattering heat

Computer model projection showing the unusually strong heat dome over the Pacific Northwest on Sunday. (PivotalWeather).

A heat wave is bringing unprecedented high temperatures to the Pacific Northwest — a region of the country typically cooled by the ocean, rather than central air conditioning. The heat will begin Friday and last into early next week.

Why it matters: The heat wave will shatter monthly and all-time temperature records in the Pacific Northwest. Some of the records could break the old milestones by several degrees.