A crisis-response framework involving tech companies, governments and civil society to stop the spread of March 15-type content online looks set to be announced by Jacinda Ardern in New York.
It is the next phase of progress in the Christchurch Call and will be a major focus for Ardern, who will meet French representatives and tech company executives on Tuesday (NZT) to further the voluntary guidelines for tackling violent extremism and terrorism online.
Ardern will be under pressure to show tangible results since the signing of the call in Paris in May, which included 17 countries, the European Commission and eight online platforms, and was hailed at the time as unprecedented.
But questions were raised about how effective it would be, and National Party leader Simon Bridges recently said it had achieved nothing.
In an interview with the Weekend Herald before flying out for her trip to Japan and New York, Ardern spoke of the obligation to respond to the horrific events of March 15.
"No one had had an example like that before where such a horrific attack was broadcast so widely. Because we were the first to have that experience, we were the first to have a duty to do something about it."
The alleged gunman had weaponised online platforms in a devastating way. The attack was teased on Twitter, announced on 8chan, live-streamed on Facebook and then replayed there as well as on Twitter, YouTube and Reddit.
Of 1.5 million attempted uploads of the footage in the first 24 hours, Facebook's AI automatically blocked 1.2 million, but it is not known how many people viewed the other 300,000 videos.
Ardern said the response revealed a stark difference between what was being done and what should be done.
"Out of here [the Beehive] we were trying to make contact with the likes of YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and Microsoft (LinkedIn) and saying, 'What are we doing?'" Ardern said.
It highlighted the need for a virtual command centre and a concrete, collaborative framework across tech companies, governments and civil society including NGOs.
A response framework was already in place, but "not well developed, and not in a way that meant it did what it needed to do".
The new framework will expand on the "crisis protocol" work of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism - which includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft - which has announced formal channels of communication for sharing intelligence to stop the spread of terrorist content.
"It's online civil defence, because these things are not constrained by domestic boundaries," Ardern said.
"They are truly international. The response mechanisms we need for them need both preparedness at an international level and responsiveness at an international level. We do not have a comprehensive framework for doing that."
The GIFCT already has a shared industry database of more than 200,000 hashes, digital fingerprints to quickly identify terrorist content, highlighting the value of tech companies working together.
"Keeping in mind that it's not a matter of just blocking one video. This video was altered multiple ways to avoid blanket automated takedown," Ardern said.
"More co-ordination and being quicker to respond would have prevented the large scale proliferation."
Free speech concerns
One of the louder concerns about the Christchurch Call has been about restraints on the freedom of expression, even though the text of the call specifically protects that.
It is the main reason the US, despite expressing support for the call's principles, did not sign up.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has cautioned about trying to prevent content from being uploaded or widely shared.
"Driving content underground may do little to prevent attacks and can even impede efforts to do so by making the perpetrators more difficult to identify," the foundation has said.
Blocking content can also be ineffective.
A report from InternetNZ this week noted how easy it is to circumvent a block - by using a VPN, for example - and how hard it is to target specific content.
Another concern, if content is blocked, is who does the blocking.
As online platforms struggled to take down the March 15 video, New Zealand internet service providers stepped in to block sites that were hosting the footage.
Ardern welcomed this, given the gravity of the content, but it's not a tactic she would encourage.
"I really applaud the initiative they took in the absence of that [crisis-response] framework, but I can also understand they feel vulnerable making those decisions on their own.
"That leaves a large burden on ISPs. There is a role for us to play in creating a framework because otherwise we're leaving some quite significant issues up to individual operators."
One of the more surprising aspects of the Christchurch Call was the acknowledgement of how a platform's algorithms has the potential to push a user towards increasingly radical content.
The call asks tech companies to inject counter-narratives in cases where users might be in danger of being pulled into darker and darker rabbit holes, and Facebook recently announced a new initiative to direct those who search for white supremacy-related content to anti-hate support groups.
Ardern said that the rabbit hole effect is not necessarily deliberate.
"You make an assumption that there is a lot of knowledge and understanding, and what we see happening is very deliberate.
"What's been eye-opening to me is that the scale and expansion of these tools means that there have been some consequences that haven't always been expected.
"Having companies understand themselves is a really important part of us being able to address some of these issues. Civil society, in particular, has been driving the algorithm work."
Some tech companies are understood to be more willing to contribute to that work than others.
Unintended consequences and algorithm biases are the subjects of a Microsoft paper, published through its research group FATE (Fairness, Accountability, Transparency and Ethics).
The paper quotes a software engineer saying that sometimes those biases only become apparent when "someone raises hell online".
Twitter is also understood to be focused on how to keep the use of its platform healthy by researching how its tools are being exploited for nefarious purposes.
Other tech companies are understood to be more guarded about sharing what could be commercially-sensitive intellectual property.
Ardern believes the issue can be worked through, adding the tech industry was committed to doing so.
"We're not going to resolve that in three months, but we do have that commitment.
"There is a willingness to open in areas that don't give away commercial intellectual property but actually help us to resolve this problem."
Ardern is happy to go into bat for the tech companies and has built personal relationships with many high-profile executives.
She has previously praised Twitter boss Jack Dorsey for being particularly engaged in the Christchurch Call, and he has been similarly complimentary towards her after two formal meetings - one in Paris, and one at the Beehive.
Ardern shared warm correspondence with Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who she will be meeting in person again for a one-on-one meeting in New York.
But one of her strongest allies from the tech sector has been Microsoft president Brad Smith, particularly in the immediate aftermath to the events of March 15.
Crucial meeting left "misty-eyed"
Ardern started to pull together the elements of what would become the Christchurch Call in the days following the March 15 attack, while also dealing with gun law reforms, supporting victims' families, and setting up the Royal Commission of Inquiry into how the attacks had taken place.
After consulting world leaders, a decision was made to partner with the French and aim for a tangible result in time for the G7 ministerial "Tech for Humanity" meeting and France's "Tech for Good" summit, both in Paris on May 15.
Smith was one of the tech company leaders whose support and buy-in was crucial if the Christchurch Call was to have any weight.
In his new book Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age, Smith revealed details of meetings in the Beehive he had with Ardern, David Parker, Andrew Little and Kris Faafoi on March 25 and 26.
"We brainstormed how the world could prevent a recurrence of terrorists using the internet as a stage for the attack on her people," Smith said in his book.
"We thought about it overnight, and by the next morning at a meeting with additional government officials, the room was talking about what a 'Christchurch Call' might address.
"As I had commented to Ardern in our initial meeting, she brought to the issue a sense of moral authority. She was quick to reply that the world's outrage would eventually dissipate, and she wanted to use the moment not to score public relations points but to achieve something of more lasting importance."
Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal a flurry of phone calls between Ardern and world leaders as well as tech company bosses in the weeks leading up to May.
A crucial meeting took place in California on May 1 and 2 between New Zealand and French officials and tech company executives from Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon.
It is believed to be the first time those companies were represented at executive level in the same room.
The goal was to pull together the text that was to become the Christchurch Call.
New Zealand officials are understood to have broken the ice on day one by speaking about how the horrific attacks had personally impacted them, and the victims' resolve for something positive to come from it.
Some at the meeting were left "misty-eyed", according to one account of the meeting.
But trying to get several companies to sign off a single text was always going to be challenging.
One of the critical decisions was to make the guidelines voluntary, which would be more flexible as well as applicable across jurisdictions.
Smith also mentions that meeting, and the frenetic pace of discussions, in his book.
"Representatives from the New Zealand and French governments met in northern California with civil society groups and with tech companies to talk through the specific issues raised by the proposed draft for the Christchurch Call.
"The New Zealand Government's team worked pretty much around the clock, juggling feedback from government leaders and other stakeholders.
"On a late-night phone call that Satya (Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella) and I had with Ardern, I mentioned how struck I was by the Government's speed. She replied, 'When you're small, you have to be nimble!'"
The Christchurch Call text is understood to have gone through six versions in 10 days, with the final draft being sent to interested parties from airport lounges in Wellington and Sydney, just as New Zealand officials jetted off to Paris.
Smith is very complimentary towards Ardern in his book, agreeing that tech companies can be successful as well as socially responsible; Ardern had urged them to stop being "all profit, no responsibility".
Smith said that Ardern had handled the March 15 crisis with "extraordinary judgment and grace".
In a Newstalk ZB interview last week, he said the Christchurch Call could lay the foundations for collaborative approaches for other issues such as privacy or cybersecurity.
He agreed with Ardern that the industry had a duty to respond to the events of March 15.
"We had never seen the internet used quite like this. I think it brought home how it's not something we want to see happen again.
"She is keeping us on our toes and I think the world will be better because of it."