Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Cognitive-Affective Mapping and Digital Peacebuilding

Policy Brief  No.111 - June, 2021 • By Evan A. Hoffman

Ideologies play a fundamental role in the emergence, escalation and resolution of conflict by underpinning divergent narratives and worldviews. These ideologies develop and are reinforced over the course of a lifetime. Practitioners need the proper tools to adequately visualise these complex ideologies in individuals and/or groups and work with them as part of a larger peacebuilding process. This policy brief presents a technique for visualising ideologies using a new software tool called Valence that enables technology-assisted Cognitive Affective Mapping(CAM). It then offers lessons from a recent online conflict resolution exercise in which multiple stakeholders used this tool in an ongoing water conflict in Canada via a series of facilitated Zoom sessions held in 2020.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

From Airtable to Zoom: An A-to-Z Guide to Digital Tech and Activism 2021

Policy Brief  No.107 - April, 2021 • By Nadine Bloch

This policy brief maps how activists are using technology to pursue public interests in human rights, democracy and a livable environment. It looks at how cell phone tech has upped the outreach and mobilising game for campaigns, dives into digital storytelling and fundraising, explores key digital tools for collaboration and training, covers cybersecurity considerations and closes with a broad look at topical creative tech-based nonviolent activist success stories. Though digital tech is no silver bullet for successful campaigns, there are clear uses and recommendations to build power and win with digital technology.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Peacebuilding and the Norms of Technological Change

Policy Brief  No.103 - February, 2021 • By Paul C. Heidebrecht

The regulation of emerging technologies is particularly challenging. This policy brief argues that peacebuilders need to devote more attention to engaging the private sector in order to influence the culture and ultimately the norms of the organisations and individuals closest to the development of advanced technologies. Running throughout this analysis are references to two contrasting contexts: the innovation ecosystems in Silicon Valley, California, and what has at times been referred to as “Silicon Valley North” in Waterloo, Ontario (Canada).

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

25 Spheres of Digital Peacebuilding and PeaceTech

Policy Brief  No.93 - September, 2020 • By Lisa Schirch

This policy brief outlines twenty-fives spheres where technology can contribute to peacebuilding goals and describes five generations of thinking related to the evolution of technology’s impact on peacebuilding. Digital peacebuilding contributes to democratic deliberation, violence prevention, social cohesion, civic engagement and improved human security. Digital peacebuilding contributes to the wider field of digital citizenship and “tech for good.” The policy brief concludes with seven recommendations to build social cohesion, civic engagement and improved human security, which emerged out of a recent Peace Direct global consultation and a Toda Peace Institute workshop.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

The Role of Social Media in Fomenting Violence: Myanmar

Policy Brief  No.78 - June, 2020 • By Victoire Rio

While social media opened up Myanmar’s information and communication ecosystem in an unprecedented way, it also came with its share of challenges. Low levels of digital and media literacy, amidst a context of political transition, dominated by rising inter-communal tensions and the formalisation of a Buddhist nationalist movement, made for a dangerous cocktail. Facebook dominated the Myanmar internet ecosystem. This case study looks at the role of Facebook in fomenting violence in Myanmar, exploring how the social media platform was weaponised and reviewing Facebook’s response to the situation. It concludes with learnings and recommendations for how risks may be better mitigated.