Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media and Social Change in Jordan: Opportunities and Threats

Policy Brief  No.57 - October, 2019

Over eight million of Jordan’s citizens have access to the internet, and they produce more than half of the digital content available online in the Arabic language. As Jordanians navigate together through an ongoing humanitarian, economic and political crisis, the mainstream social media platforms to which they are active contributors are turning into interactive spaces critical for public debate and socio-political transformation. This policy brief analyses social media impacts on the Jordanian society in 2018-2019 and concludes with three recommendations for the future.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

The False Information Ecosystem in India

Policy Brief  No.55 - October, 2019

Over the past few years, internet access and adoption in India has grown tremendously, giving Indians more access to the online information ecosystem than ever before. Today, India is one of the largest markets for technology platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook. However, the adoption of these technology platforms has also enabled misinformation and disinformation to spread at scale in the country. This has resulted in the eruption of violence and even the deaths of dozens of people. This policy brief explores the false information ecosystem in India, highlighting the key players and approaches they have implemented to curb the spread of misinformation and disinformation. It also offers a set of recommendations for how these efforts can be improved going forward.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media in Zimbabwe: A Toxic Tool or a Future Bridge to Peace?

Policy Brief  No.51 - October, 2019

The rise of social media in Zimbabwe has brought with it a greater variety of platforms which offer people a means to express themselves. However, the democratisation of information and the increase in digital spaces have also come with greater state restriction and polarisation among Zimbabweans. This policy brief discusses the state’s attempts to act as the proctor of social media in order to explore the relations between users of online platforms in terms of political leanings and gender. To this end, it will also discuss how online targeting can exacerbate already existing political divisions between people and how the state uses legal instruments to surveil and regulate online activity as a way of maintaining its iron grip on the people. The policy brief concludes with recommendations aimed at stopping hateful, harmful or false narratives being spread at the click of a button.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Social Media Dynamics in Boko Haram’s Terrorist Insurgence

Policy Brief  No.50 - October, 2019

This policy brief analyses the use of social media by different groups affected by Boko Haram’s terrorist insurgence, including the group itself. The rate, speed, spread and belief which information from social media commands has changed theatres of war and amplified terrorist threats. The Nigerian youth who are the forerunners of social media use in the country have further employed Hashtag (#) Activism for varied causes regarding Boko Haram. This study examines the use of social media in ‘orchestrated data circulation’ by both the insurgents and the Nigerian government, and the populace’s growing awareness of the power they wield by simply having internet data and a phone. This brief concludes with recommendations regarding ways that tech companies and Civil Society Organisations could re-influence the social media dynamics in Boko Haram’s terrorist insurgence.

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding

Polarisation and Peacebuilding Strategy on Digital Media Platforms: Current Strategies and Their Discontents (Part II)

Policy Brief  No.45 - July, 2019

This is the second of two policy briefs on polarisation in relation to digital media. It describes interventions currently being attempted by NGOs and other peacebuilders using digital platforms as their medium, and interventions that the platforms themselves have tested and/or put into action, including in some cases how the impacts are measured. Many organisations and individuals are working on digital peacebuilding, while a larger number explore broad societal impacts of digital media and the research questions identified in the first brief. The conclusion of this brief categorises interventions according to the degree of invasiveness felt by their subjects, discusses their costs and benefits, and provides recommendations for digital media platforms.