What is the Christchurch Call?
The Christchurch Call is a set of commitments supported by tech companies (including many GIFCT members) and over 50 governments to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. The Call was established by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron on 15 May 2019, two months to the day after 51 people were killed and 50 injured by a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attack was livestreamed, went viral and remains available on the web despite the measures taken to remove it. The Call is a collaborative and multistakeholder initiative. It rests on the conviction that a free, open and secure internet offers extraordinary benefits to society. Respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and transparency is essential. Supporters commit to undertake a range of measures (individually and collaboratively), such as: developing tools to prevent the downloading of terrorist and violent extremist material; combatting the causes of violent extremism; improving transparency in the detection and removal of content; and ensuring that the algorithms designed and used by online platforms do not direct users towards violent extremist content. The Christchurch Call community has an ongoing, active program of work underway to achieve these objectives. It works closely with a range of organizations, including GIFCT.
What is the Content Incident Protocol?
The Content Incident Protocol (CIP) was developed by GIFCT to respond to emerging and active terrorist events and assess any potential online content produced and disseminated by those involved in the planning or conducting of the attack. By declaring a CIP, all hashes of an attacker’s video, and other related content is shared in the GIFCT hash database with other GIFCT member platforms. Furthermore, a continuous stream of communication is established among all GIFCT founding members to identify and address risks and needs during an active CIP. The first CIP was activated on 9 October 2019 following the shooting in Halle, Germany when the attacker filmed his attack and the livestream was circulated on GIFCT member platforms. Ultimately, GIFCT shared hashes, or digital “fingerprints”, from 36 visually-distinct videos from the attack so member platforms could detect and remove the content.
What is the hash-sharing consortium and how does it work?
In 2016, the founding member companies of GIFCT (Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube), created a shared industry database of “hashes” — unique digital “fingerprints” — of known violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos that had been removed from their services. The image or video is “hashed” in its raw form and is not linked to any original platform or user data. Hashes appear as a numerical representation of the original content and can’t be reverse engineered to create the image and/or video. A platform needs to find a match with a given hash on their platform in order to see what the hash corresponds with. The Hash Sharing Consortium currently consists of 13 companies who have access to the shared industry database. This includes, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Ask.fm, Cloudinary, Instagram, JustPaste.it, LinkedIn, Verizon Media, Reddit, Snap, and Yellow. No access to non-industry members has been granted. Each consortium member can decide how they would like to use the database, keeping in mind their own user terms of service, as well as how they operate and how they make use of both technical and human capabilities.