New toolkit offers social media insights to conflict mediators

GENEVA – APRIL 1, 2022 – As digital dimensions reshape the scope and intensity of violent conflicts, a new toolkit helps peacemakers to analyse social media activities and better understand how these insights can complement dialogue and mediation efforts.

The clear and practical guide – developed by Build Up in partnership with the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) – is part of HD’s Digital Conflict programme to equip the mediation community with the knowledge and tools to mitigate harmful behaviour online and use social media more effectively in their work.

“Mediators are increasingly concerned about the use of social media as a weapon in conflict. They recognise the negative impact that hate speech and disinformation have on peace processes, but often lack a clear understanding of these trends and how to respond to them,” said Maude Morrison, HD’s social media and conflict mediation advisor.

“This toolkit outlines potential analysis methods, the resources needed and the limits of what is possible. For example, it shows mediators how to get insights about how certain groups are speaking about issues online and to identify the key influencers in a conflict.”

In a recent webinar, HD and Build Up showed how the toolkit works and highlighted its case studies from Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen and more conflict areas.

“The case studies are an invaluable resource for demystifying the use of social media analysis. They provide insight and imagination into how mediators and peacebuilders are using social media insights and to what effect,” said Julie Hawke from the Build Up team. “This toolkit will be a living resource as users are also invited to submit their own case studies and ongoing questions.” 

HD’s Digital Conflict programme is part of the independent diplomacy organisation’s mediation and peacemaking initiatives in more than 75% of the world’s violent conflicts.

The toolkit and HD’s Digital Conflict programme are made possible by generous support from the European Union’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP).

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