Christchurch attack, one year on: Online extremism still on the rise - expert

One of the biggest talking points after the Christchurch attack was how the gunman was able to live-stream the massacre online.

It resulted in a campaign for social media companies to clamp down on hateful content - led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Fifty-one people were killed in the March 15 shootings with dozens more injured. Coalition for a Safer Web vice president Eric Feinberg says from his point of view, there's been no progress made in terms of online extremist content.

"A lot of this has to do with anti-semitic, anti-Jewish messaging against Jews and basically blaming the Jews for a lot of things including right now - the coronavirus situation," Feinberg told The AM Show on Friday.

"They're all over - they populate and the thing is, a lot of these groups exist on the encrypted apps.

"That's the problem - how do you police that? Because they're encrypted and [it] relies on human beings looking at it."

Feinberg said he's "more sceptical than ever" about the Christchurch Call - which saw 16 countries and eight of the technology industry's biggest firms and websites joining a New Zealand-led effort to eliminate terrorist content from the internet.

Eric Feinberg.
Eric Feinberg. Photo credit: The AM Show/Google

No room to be complacent - police

Police say it's up to everyone to stop hate content online in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks.

In the past year, authorities have worked closely with a new team dedicated to removing extremist content from the internet, resulting in multiple arrests.

Assistant Police Commissioner Richard Chambers says there have been several arrests made since the attacks.

"What I've observed in the past 12 months is the strength of the relationship between New Zealand Police and Facebook, Google, YouTube, and that gives me a lot of confidence because that relationship is critical if we are going to make a difference online."

Chambers said there's no room to be complacent.

"If we're going to make a difference in terms of online extremism - we rely on communities to tell us what they're observing [and] what they're seeing and that's working well for us," he told The AM Show on Friday.

Chambers said he's confident police will continue making progress in removing hate content from online platforms - a year on from the terror attacks. 

He told The AM Show their work will continue as long as tech companies are co-operative.

"Their role is one of being proactive and one of being transparent," he said. 

"What we're seeing is the intent is right from the majority of online providers."