A nonviolent, sustainable and peaceful world.

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Policy Briefs on Social Media and Peacebuilding

Social Media and Peacebuilding

Engaging with Narratives of Peace

Policy Brief  No 39 - May, 2019

How do peacebuilding organisations communicate about peace online and offline? Narrative competency must be a fundamental aspect of our work as peacebuilders in the modern age, as we confront the challenges posed by social media, divided on-line communities, growing political polarisation globally and more easily-ready manipulation tactics within public discourse. The term narrative is ubiquitous today and commonly used interchangeably with story. However, within the peacebuilding field there is currently a lack of understanding of the concept of narrative fundamentally as a cognitive framework that resides at the level of our unconscious minds, which allows human beings to make meaning of the world. While much has been written about how activists can address narrative change, peacebuilders have a special calling to engage with narratives in a way that is self-reflective, curious, seeks complexity and constructs meaning with others. This policy brief argues that narrative engagement should be a top priority and concludes with policy recommendations for those in the peacemaking field.

Social Media and Peacebuilding

Mapping Responses to Social Media Threats

Policy Brief  No 38 - April, 2019

Recognizing the global relevance of social media threats to human rights, democracy, and peace, the Tokyo-based Toda Peace Institute convened twenty experts from the fields of peacebuilding, democracy, governance, and human rights for an international workshop in December 2018. This workshop is part of a larger programme at the Toda Peace Institute on social media and peacebuilding which includes a series of policy briefs, beginning with a peacebuilding review of the “Social Media Impacts on Social and Political Goods" in October 2018. The Toda Peace Institute is planning further policy briefs and workshops, while a “Global Summit on Technology and Peacebuilding” is planned for 2020.

Social Media and Peacebuilding

Counteracting Hate and Dangerous Speech Online: Strategies and Considerations

Policy Brief  No 34 - March, 2019

This policy brief will examine the various factors that enable online hate speech to resonate, spread, and drive offline action. After briefly reviewing the features of social media that enable hate speech to spread online, we will explore tools for designing interventions to respond to this content. As part of this, we will consider the broader online and offline context impacting this speech, and review approaches to identifying, understanding, and engaging online audiences. Drawing from multidisciplinary research insights, the discussion will then address considerations for developing messaging strategies and content. The review concludes with a brief discussion of the importance of assessing and mitigating risk. Overall, this brief will position readers to be able to develop their own strategies for responding to online hate and dangerous speech in their context.

Social Media and Peacebuilding

Digital Blooms: Social Media and Violence in Sri Lanka

Policy Brief  No 28 - November, 2018

The policy brief outlines key snapshots of Sri Lanka’s social media landscape as it stood at the time of writing, in early August 2018, and offers some recommendations aimed at civil society’s use of social media for conflict transformation. Background Note: Primary research informing this policy brief took place between 2014-2018 as part of work conducted with the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). Other observations arise from data analysis and further research as part of on-going doctoral studies at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS) at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Social Media and Peacebuilding

Civil Society in the Age of Automation: Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Bots

Policy Brief  No 26 - November, 2018

The next wave of disruptive technology has arrived; it is the Age of Automation. The defining technologies for this new era include robots, chatbots, artificial intelligence, machine learning, conversational interfaces, cyborgs, and other smart devices. These technologies are increasingly becoming the interface between organisations and humans. The risks and benefits for civil society organisations boils down to automation versus augmentation. Automation is where robots and algorithms take over and destroy humanity. Augmentation is more optimistic and suggests that artificial intelligence (A.I.) will help civil society organisations amplify their work to better serve stakeholders and solve significant social change problems.