Delivering the keynote at the Microsoft Future Now event in Sydney today Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft said the Christchurch terrorist attack is a learning moment for everyone working in technology.

Smith is referring to the Christchurch terrorist attack where 50 people were murdered in shootings in two mosques.

This was live streamed over social media and taken down but the video continued to pop up over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with the sites battling to remove them.

He said people first have to start looking at the role technology played during the terrorist attack.

“We recognise the tech sector needs to do more. It’s a time we can look at how our services operated, there was much less sharing of this video on our services but there was some and there were many aspects where our technology and our human controls worked well.

“But immediately we sat down and said where can it work better? We’ve already implemented improvements.”

Speaking to the audience, Smith said this is a moment in time that calls on everyone who is involved with technology and to ask how they become a part of the solution despite not being a part of the problem.

Brad Smith, president, Microsoft

Smith highlighted the three areas where people can do more together and what Microsoft will also try and accomplish.

He said, “We need to do more to prevent these kinds of horrific uses of technology, we need to continue to invest and improve the technology, we will but it requires more human controls as well.

“We also need to do more to increase our capability to respond to crisis, we can’t assume there will never be a crisis of this or another so we are focused on concrete ideas to enhance that.”

The final point Smith made is digital discourse has become too toxic.

“Of course there is a difference between hateful speech on the internet and this kind of horrendous act in person.

“But this kind of hateful speech does not help and we all have an opportunity to ask how we can pursue new initiatives together to bring online the kinds of standards of behaviours, the standards of civilisation that we command to ourselves, our children, of our colleagues when we are interacting with each other in person,” he added.

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