Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

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.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Exploring Disinformation in Fragile States: Iraq as a Case Study of Influence of International Political Actors

Policy Brief  No.160 - June, 2023 • By Rawand Faeq

This Policy Brief examines the influence of international political actors in perpetuating disinformation in fragile states. The study delves into the history of disinformation in Iraq, particularly during and after the fall of the Baathist regime, and investigates how national and international actors utilise disinformation as a political tool. Three case studies focus on the overlapping interests of regional, international, and local actors. The findings contribute to a better understanding of disinformation dynamics, enabling more effective strategies to combat disinformation and foster informed and democratic societies.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Digital Warfare and Peace: Learning from Ukraine’s response to the Russian invasion

Policy Brief  No.158 - May, 2023 • By Anna Romandash

This Policy Brief explores the ongoing infowars in the Russia–Ukraine war which began in February 2022. Since 2014, due to the Kremlin’s propaganda channels, troll armies, and “useful idiots” in the West and beyond, Russia was able to control the narrative on the situation in Donbas and Crimea and significantly diminish both support and interest toward Ukraine. However, after the start of the full-scale war in 2022, Ukraine shifted international views on the Russian invasion. Ukraine’s efforts significantly contributed to Russia’s digital isolation and mainstreamed Ukraine’s counter-narratives using open-source data, digital allies, and successful communication campaigns.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

A Roadmap for Collaboration on Technology and Social Cohesion

Policy Brief  No.154 - February, 2023 • By Lisa Schirch

This commissioned report is one of several resulting from a year-long research project funded by the Toda Peace Institute’s program on Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding The tech sector wields enormous power over the thoughts and actions of billions of people. Toxic polarization stymies governments from helping to solve pressing problems from Covid to the climate crisis. Humanity needs technology that builds trust and civic health rather than outrage and division, and people who understand how to build bridges in divided communities to be better equipped to use technology. In 2020, a working group formed to explore a Council on Technology and Cohesion to bring practitioners who heal division together with people who design technology. This report maps the kinds of activities that could help to build a movement for prosocial technology to support social cohesion.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Kazakhstan’s Bloody January: Digital Repression on the “New Silk Road”

Policy Brief  No.140 - November, 2022 • By Raushan Zhandayeva and Rachael Rosenberg

This Policy Brief explores the January 2022 Kazakhstan government shut down of internet access for several days while enacting a violent crackdown on initially peaceful protests which were triggered by hikes in fuel prices. It examines Kazakhstan’s internet and media landscape, the (re)actions of civil society and the state, and the factors that set the stage for this extreme act of digital repression, which created a disturbing precedent for the country and the Eurasia region more broadly. The paper concludes by briefly exploring the potential implications for Kazakhstan’s governance, economic development, and collective memory nearly a year on from the events.