G7 leaders pressure tech firms on removing terror propaganda

Leaders of the G7, from left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and British Prime Minister Theresa May pose during a group photo for the G7 summit in the Ancient Theatre of Taormina ( 3rd century BC) in the Sicilian citadel of Taormina, Italy, Friday, May 26, 2017. Leaders of the G7 meet Friday and Saturday, including newcomers Emmanuel Macron of France and Theresa May of Britain in an effort to forge a new dynamic after a year of global political turmoil amid a rise in nationalism. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

TAORMINA, Sicily (AP) — Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies on Friday put pressure on internet companies and social media sites to do more to stop the spread of “hateful ideology,” appealing to their sense of social responsibility to more swiftly identify and remove terror propaganda.

The measure signed by the seven nations’ leaders was a show of solidarity with Britain following Monday’s suicide bombing in Manchester, England that killed 22 outside a pop music concert. The Islamic State group claimed the attack, although authorities are working to establish the bombing suspect’s ties to extremist organizations.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the leaders agreed that the threat posed by the Islamic State group “is evolving rather than disappearing.”

“As they lose ground in Iraq and Syria, foreign fighters are returning, and the group’s hateful ideology is spreading online,” May said. “Make no mistake, the fight is moving from the battlefield to the internet.”

She said terror propaganda is “warping young minds” and that she thinks technology companies both could do more and have the responsibility to act.

In their declaration, the leaders said they were targeting “propaganda supporting terrorism and violent extremism, online recruitment by extremists, radicalization and incitement to violence.” They said they would work also with youth and religious leaders, prisons and educational institutions toward that end.

They also agreed in the declaration to strengthen the process for returning foreign fighters operating in Europe to their countries of origin, to better share intelligence on individuals who have trained in Islamic State territory, and to do more to cut off funding streams they called “the lifeblood of violent extremists and terrorists.”

The G-7 leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, on Friday also discussed climate and trade.

At the close of the day’s talks, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said six of the G-7 nations — Italy, Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Japan — confirmed “our commitment and our determination” to the Paris Agreement establishing goals for reducing greenhouse gases.

The United States, meanwhile, confirmed “a period of reflection” on the issue, he said.

Trump’s pending review of U.S. climate policies and decision not to make up his mind before the Taormina summit has braced environmentalists for the possibility of bland language that says little after years of increasingly stronger commitments to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and emissions under the Paris Agreement.

“What we do not want to see is a false compromise on nothing,” Tobias Muenchmeyer, a political expert for Greenpeace, said. “We want to see determination and commitment over unity,” with the other partners going ahead without the United States.

WDTN.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s