White House to hold online extremism summit

The White House will host internet and technology companies Friday for a summit focused on violent extremism online, the first public engagement meetings convened following last weekend’s deadly shootings.

The summit comes just a few months after the Trump administration refused to sign the Christchurch Call, a push by the governments of New Zealand and France to encourage tech companies and countries to work together to end the use of social media in acts of terrorism.

“The White House has invited internet and technology companies for a discussion on violent extremism online,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said Wednesday. “The staff-led meeting will take place Friday and include senior administration officials along with representatives of a range of companies.”

President Donald Trump is not expected to attend the session. A list of participants wasn’t available at time of publishing Wednesday.

A source familiar with the invite sent to companies said they expect it to be partly a conversation about tech companies polices and any initiatives planned or underway in combating online violent extremism.

Facebook and Twitter declined to comment and referred CNN to the White House. Google did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

The French and New Zealand governments held a summit in Paris in May in an effort to tackle online extremism after the Christchurch massacre. That meeting resulted in the Christchurch Call.

“While the United States is not currently in a position to join the endorsement, we continue to support the overall goals reflected in the call. We will continue to engage governments, industry and civil society to counter terrorist content on the internet,” the White House said in a statement at the time.

The statement condemned terrorist and violent extremist content online “in the strongest terms,” however, it cited freedom of expression and freedom of the press as reasons it would not be joining the agreement.

CNN’s Brian Fung and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.