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‘Expert panel’ advising PM on social media revealed – oh, and I sell bridges in Brooklyn!


From NZ Herald – no byline

A team of eight people have advised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on ways the Government can address issues relating to social media after the Christchurch mosque shootings, ahead of her trip to France.

Ardern is travelling to Paris, where she will next week co-chair a summit with French President Emmanuel Macron targeting social media.

The Prime Minister has criticised the role of social media in the Christchurch terror attack on March 15. Video of the shooting – which saw 51 Muslim worshippers lose their lives and left dozens more injured – was streamed live on Facebook.

In the lead-up to the summit, Macron met with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in Paris on Friday as the French Government investigates ways to crack down on harmful content on social media.

The Prime Minister’s office has confirmed the membership of its own digital and media expert group includes NZME Premium Content editor Miriyana Alexander, Weekend Herald columnist Lizzie Marvelly, Internet NZ chief executive Jordan Carter, technologist Nat Torkington, internet and digital business law partner Rick Shera, cyber security professional Michael Wallmansberger, chairwoman of the Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Ministerial Advisory Group, Victoria Maclennan, and Spark’s GM regulatory affairs, John Wesley-Smith.

Last year Alexander studied “fake news” during a Wolfson Press Fellowship to Cambridge University, which cemented her interest in the ethics of big tech.

“The group provides an informal way to test policy ideas and inform government thinking about its response to the role of social media in the events of 15 March, 2019 in Christchurch,” an OIA response to Herald columnist Matthew Hooton from PM Jacinda Ardern’s chief of staff Mike Munro stated.

Some members of the group met with Ardern in Auckland on April 5.

“This office and the Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet assembled the group to have a mix of technology sector, media and legal expertise,” Munro wrote.

“The Government chief digital officer and the Minister for Government Digital Services, Hon Megan Woods, provided input on their selection.”

Just days after the first meeting of members of the group and the PM, Ardern said the global community should “speak with one voice” when it comes to blocking harmful content on social media platforms.

“I wanted to make sure I had the views of those that work in the [social media] space, particularly given that questions are being raised around what role New Zealand could and should play in this debate at an international level,” Ardern said four days after the meeting.

At the time she said she would be happy to say who she met, but would seek their permission to do so first.

Ardern has three key events in Paris; a Voices of Action meeting with civil society members, a round table meeting with tech companies, and the Christchurch Call summit with heads of state and tech companies.

Why did it take an OIA to discover this?

Why are there no acknowledged global experts in this group. This is a major fail.

Ardern is co-chairing a summit where some of the players are among the best resourced enterprises on the planet, and this is her advisory group

As Queen Victoria is reputed to have said ‘We are not amused’

Furthermore why is this a conference without any leading Asian figures?

Why are there no US experts on US Law, outside of US Tech people on the list of attendees?



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