NZ: Social media firms commit to block harmful content online

NZ: Social media firms commit to block harmful content online

by Sakina Raj

Renowned social media platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, and Meta have reportedly signed a first-of-its-kind code of conduct, committing to limit the spread of harmful content in New Zealand.

However, reports cite, some user advocacy organizations are concerned that the contract is ineffective.

Google, Amazon, Twitter, and TikTok, along with Facebook and Instagram operator Meta, have voluntarily accepted the code of conduct for internet safety and harm. It requires companies to decrease harmful content on their sites, present a comprehensive public complaints system, and give yearly reports about safety standards.

The firms have consented to limit harmful content in seven core aspects, including harassment or cyberbullying, child sexual exploitation and abuse, hate speech, violent or graphic content, inciting violence, disinformation, and misinformation.

Netsafe, the independent internet safety firm responsible for developing the code, described it as unique since it would enable the stakeholders and public to hold signatories accountable for their obligations.

Brent Carey, CEO, Netsafe, stated that the code was based on previous international codes of practice in the EU and Australia, although it was the first of its kind.

As per the company, there was a 25% rise in harmful content on the internet during the Covid-19 pandemic, and 2/5 of young people and 1/5 of adults in New Zealand reported being negatively impacted by digital communication.

During a media interaction, Carey compared the code to the Christchurch Call. It is a collection of voluntarily agreed-upon commitments taken by France and New Zealand to remove violent extremist content on the web following the incident when a far-right gunman streamed his rampage live on Facebook while slaughtering  51 people at two mosques in 2019.

The code underwent public and industry consultation, but advocacy groups like Internet NZ's policy advisers, Muslim community leaders, and the disinformation and anti-hate speech group Tohatoha have claimed that platforms are using the code as a way to avoid additional regulation.

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Sakina Raj

Armed with a degree in English Literature, Sakina chose to explore the world of content writing and pursue it as a career. Sakina has been playing with words for over five years now and currently pens down articles for Marketprimes and various other online portals relating to diverse domains. Whe Read more...