Policy Brief No.73 - May, 2020 • By Lisa Schirch
In 2019, the Toda Peace Institute’s research programme on “Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding” published a series of policy briefs exploring the impact of social media technologies on conflict dynamics in ten countries: three in Latin America, three in Africa, three in the Middle East and South Asia, and Northern Ireland. On November 13, 2019, the ten authors met together with 30 practitioners, scholars, professionals, faculty and students working at the intersection between technology and peacebuilding at a workshop held at the University of San Diego Joan B. Kroc School for Peace Studies. This report draws together key themes from the case studies presented in the ten policy briefs, and concludes with recommendations for governments, tech companies, legacy media, and civil society, particularly peacebuilders.
Policy Brief No.70 - March, 2020 • By Qamar Jafri
This policy brief examines the work of civil society activists in India and Pakistan and explains how the social media strategies of civil society activists can ease the risk of war and violence and improve the prospect for long-term peaceful relations between both countries. Having experienced four wars between 1948 and 1999, peace efforts on the part of civil society activists have existed for many years. Civil society’s use of social media for peace is a new trend. This policy brief endeavours to add new insights on civil society’s use of social media to support peace and attempts to enhance existing dimensions to the question of how to respond to the rising conflicts between nuclear countries India and Pakistan – an issue that can no longer remain unnoticed by members of civil society and the international community.
Policy Brief No.67 - December, 2019 • By Brendan McCourt
At interfaces between the Republican and Nationalist Catholic neighbourhoods and predominantly Loyalist and Unionist Protestant neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland, the violence during the ‘Troubles’ (1969-1999) was particularly raw and volatile. As the peace process took hold, enormous effort by community leaders, paramilitaries and other agencies has helped to gradually reduce street conflict to low levels. However, the rise of social media in the last 5-10 years has added a new dimension, both good and bad. Particularly concerning are arranged fights, often sectarian, involving the use of weapons. How does social media impact conflict dynamics in a post-conflict region like Northern Ireland? This policy brief explores the nature of the problem and how those at the frontline such as youth workers, residents and the police use social media to counter it, and offers recommendations for the future.
Policy Brief No.66 - November, 2019 • By Peter Hayes
This brief draws from a Nautilus Institute, Technology for Global Security, Preventive Defense Project workshop, when a speed-scenarios exercise involving nuclear weapons and social media experts and practitioners was conducted to explore antidotes to potentially catastrophic effects of social media on the risk of nuclear war. To anticipate how social media might play out in the world of nuclear early warning, studies of social media in other domains where it was used to promote extremist views and behaviour were examined: anti-vaccination, anti-Semitism, gang, ethnic, and terrorist violence in cities. Four “short circuit” hypothetical, imaginary scenarios were produced at the workshop that explored how and what circuit breakers might be created that avoid or overcome the destabilising effect of social media on nuclear early warning systems and nuclear command decisions.
Policy Brief No.63 - November, 2019 • By Diego Casaes and Yasodara Córdova
In the last few years, the world information ecosystem has been flooded by the “fake news” phenomena. The fragmentation and scale of the new communication tools help spread old ideologies, that uphold racism, homophobia, and oppression. This phenomenon particularly afflicts developing countries, because of the persistent inequality and political polarisation. This policy brief analyses the weakest points in Brazilian information ecosystem and demonstrates how that structure created a nurturing environment for disinformation and hate speech before and after the 2018 elections. It concludes with short- and medium-term strategies for governments, institutions and civil society, as well as tech and social media companies that will mitigate the negative societal disturbances of hate speech and disinformation.