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New strategy to combat harmful online content is 'only start of the fix', expert says

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media's strategy to create a more responsible digital environment and stop harmful content being posted is only the start to finding a fix according to a New Zealand expert.

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Commercial Communications Council's chief executive Paul Head spoke to TVNZ 1’s Breakfast. Source: Breakfast

“I don’t think its necessarily the fix, but it’s the start of the fix," said Commercial Communications Council's chief executive Paul Head on TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning.

Yesterday the first part of the strategy was announced at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which determined what classifies harmful content. The strategy will ensure social media platforms identify harmful content in the same way.

"Twitter might think something is harmful, Facebook may not," Mr Head said.

Another part of the strategy is improving technology so all online platforms will be made aware of instances of harmful content.

"Hopefully if a piece of content pops up on one platform it will get pulled down or blocked on other platforms before it occurs," said Mr Head.

 "I think the crucial thing now is how quick it can develop (the strategy) because if we don't stay on top of it, we're not going to get to the bottom of the problem."

In the third quarter of last year Facebook, YouTube and Instagram pulled down 620 million pieces of harmful content.

"10 million still got through, so that's 40-5-million pieces of harmful content getting through a year."