Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Technology-Facilitated Gender-Based Violence and Democracy

Policy Brief  No.181 - December, 2023 • By Katerina Standish

This policy brief examines the way that women are disproportionately affected by online harassment, cyberstalking, and other forms of online abuse, and the effect this can have on democratic participation. Women play a crucial role in sustaining and enhancing democratic societies. Research shows that women’s political participation in fostering a cohesive and nonviolent community is integral to sustainable peace. However, women directly involved in social and political discourse are targeted and harassed both online and off. This policy brief details examples of misogyny on line and highlights targeted strategies for countering this phenomenon.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media Activism for Civilian Supremacy in Myanmar and Pakistan

Policy Brief  No.180 - November, 2023 • By Qamar Jafri

This policy brief seeks answers to the question “How are activists using social media to bring political change in Myanmar and Pakistan?” It examines the activism of political and civil society activists on social media in countries where anti-democratic forces including an alliance of military and right-wing political factions are dominating political affairs. These forces have kept tight control over traditional media (television, print) by silencing the voices of common people using force and violence. However, social media has empowered pro-civilian rule activists to raise their voices and has helped to mobilise the public in favour of political change in their societies. The policy brief explains the methods, strategies, and their impact on political and social space in Pakistani and Myanmar societies.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

The Digital Battlefield: The Taliban’s Case of Co-opting Social Media for Warfare and Governance

Policy Brief  No.179 - November, 2023 • By Zakira Rasooli

This Policy Brief delves into the paramount significance of social media in contemporary warfare, shedding light on the critical need for effective measures to counter online radical narratives and prevent the spread of violent extremism. It explores how autocratic and repressive groups like the Taliban exploit social media platforms to their advantage and how these platforms have become a fertile ground for violent extremist groups to establish a novel front in warfare by allowing them to directly engage with civilians and the public, thus effectively closing civic space. This paper argues for heightened vigilance and proactive measures to counter misinformation, glorification of violence, and radicalisation online, ultimately safeguarding the integrity of information dissemination and societal well-being.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Rainbow-Washing: Corporate Co-optation and Hashtag Activism

Policy Brief  No.165 - August, 2023 • By Jody Oetzel

This Policy Brief places ‘rainbow-washing’, or utilizing LGBTQ+ imagery for commercial ends, in a broader conversation of hashtag activism and considers when these displays represent authentic allyship as opposed to performative activism. While rainbow-washing is most frequently observed in an American context, global displays of Pride-themed brand activism in India and the Philippines are also considered. The Policy Brief ends with recommendations for consumers and corporate entities to prevent the co-optation and commercialization of LGBTQ+ symbolism.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Counter Recruiting in the Online Gaming Community

Policy Brief  No.163 - July, 2023 • By Sean Raming

This Policy Brief examines the practice of organisations, ranging from violent extremist groups to the US Army, of using online gaming for recruiting purposes. Online gaming is a popular form of entertainment among the world’s youth. The Policy Brief describes why recruiting in online gaming should be understood as a more general problem, involving any armed group recruiting online, which has simple solutions. It then presents several concepts from peacebuilding that can be applied to counter recruiting efforts in online gaming.