Curated expert opinion on intractable contemporary issues

Global Outlook: Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Building Tech “Trust and Safety” for a Digital Public Sphere

By Lisa Schirch  |  10 October, 2022

The first annual “Trust and Safety” conferences took place this week in Palo Alto, California. Tech platform staff from Zoom, Meta, TikTok, and DoorDash met together with researchers studying how to reduce the harmful content on social media platforms.

Disinformation: A Growing Threat for Faith-Based Organisations 

By Prithvi Iyer and Zoe Skoric  |  08 August, 2022

From hindering public health efforts to disrupting election cycles, it is clear that disinformation threatens public trust and democratic principles worldwide. Yet, despite disinformation becoming a more prevalent topic within the international community, its impact on the operations and public image of faith-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) remains relatively unexplored. With nearly 60% of U.S.-based foreign assistance organisations being faith-based, it is essential to not only understand the impact of disinformation on these organisations, but also to examine the strategies used to counter disinformation so that it does not adversely impact their humanitarian work.

The Taliban's Social Media Warfare Operation Toward Seizing Kabul

By Iria Puyosa  |  17 October, 2021

In their advance towards Kabul, the Taliban were anticipating their military victory through WhatsApp's voice notes, tweets, and Facebook posts. The Taliban insurgency crafted transmedia storytelling on how Afghan army soldiers were surrendering without much fighting. On the eve of the seizure of Kabul, images shot by mobile phones and drones were transmitted to the world, showing scenes of the Taliban's march toward victory.

Digital Violence Prevention During the Pandemic

By Lisa Schirch  |  13 August, 2021

Even before the pandemic, social media was creating a “techtonic shift” in human relations by acting as a vehicle for organising violence, amplifying disinformation and xenophobic conspiracies, and polarising public discourse.

Using Social Media and #ENDSARS to Dismantle Nigeria’s Hierarchical Gerontocracy

By Medinat Abdulazeez Malefakis  |  29 January, 2021

On October 3 2020, a video of a Nigerian Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) attack on a victim began to spread on social media, showing a young man shot and SARS operatives driving away in a Lexus SUV. The attack sparked public outrage, and the #ENDSARS hashtag became the most popular Twitter trend in the world, garnering about 28 million tweets on the first weekend. Young people took to the streets, beginning on October 8 2020, to peacefully demand the abolition of SARS.

QAnon and Mass Digital Radicalisation: Peacebuilding and the American Insurgency

By Lisa Schirch  |  21 January, 2021

US-based right-wing extremists harnessed social media platforms to spread disinformation, to recruit new members, to plan a siege on the US Capitol building, and to fuel the flames of hate and division in the US. Even before the January 6 siege on the US Capitol, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency experts have been describing the “mass radicalisation” of Americans via social media-driven conspiracies. According to a Reuters poll, 13% of the US population supported the siege.

The views and opinions expressed in Global Outlook are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toda Peace Institute.