1st Edition

Social Media Impacts on Conflict and Democracy The Techtonic Shift

Edited By Lisa Schirch Copyright 2021
    258 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    258 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Social media technology is having a dramatic impact on social and political dynamics around the world.

    The contributors to this book document and illustrate this "techtonic" shift on violent conflict and democratic processes. They present vivid examples and case studies from countries in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America as well as Northern Ireland. Each author maps an array of peacebuilding solutions to social media threats, including coordinated action by civil society, governments and tech companies to protect human minds, relationships and institutions. Solutions presented include inoculating society with a new digital literacy agenda, designing technology for positive social impacts, and regulating technology to prohibit the worst behaviours.

    A must-read both for political scientists and policymakers trying to understand the impact of social media, and media studies scholars looking for a global perspective.

    1. The Techtonic Shift: How Social Media Works (Lisa Schirch) 2. Digital Information, Conflict, and Democracy (Lisa Schirch) 3. Brazil: Weaponized Information and Digitized Hate (Diego Casaes and Yasodara Cordova) 4. Colombia: The Use of Social Media in Democratic Spaces: A Double-Edged Sword (Diana Dajer) 5. Egypt: Social Media Impacts on Civil Society, Violent Extremism & Government Control (Eman El-Sherbiny) 6. India: A False Information Ecosystem (Spandana Singh) 7. India-Pakistan: Civil Society Digital Activism for Peace (Qamar Jafri) 8. Jordan: Social Media and Social Change Opportunities and Threats (Diana Ishaqat) 9. Kenya: Social Media Literacy, Ethnicity and Peacebuilding (Fredrick Ogenga) 10. Myanmar: The Role of Social Media in Fomenting Violence (Victoire Rio) 11. Nigeria: Social Media Dynamics in Boko Haram’s Terrorist Insurgence (Medinat Abdulazeez Malefakis) 12. Northern Ireland: Social Media and Conflict Dynamics on the Peace Lines (Brendan McCourt) 13. Sri Lanka: Digital Blooms in Social Media and Violence (Sanjana Hattotuwa) 14. Venezuela: 21st Century Authoritarianism in the Digital Sphere (Iria Puyosa) 15. Zimbabwe: Social Media as a Toxic Tool or a Future Bridge to Peace (Tendai Marima) 16. A Peacebuilding Approach to Addressing Social Media Threats (Lisa Schirch)


    Lisa Schirch is Senior Research Fellow at the Toda Peace Institute, Japan, and Visiting Fellow at the Alliance for Peacebuilding and George Mason University.

    "Social media is both a driver of disinformation and polarisation and a potential tool for building more peaceful and resilient societies. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning how social media is upending conflict dynamics worldwide, from fragile states to longstanding democracies, and—most importantly—what policymakers, the private sector and civil society collectively can do about it." – Uzra Zeya, CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding

    "In this book, local researchers from 13 countries map the impacts of social media technologies on their contexts; an important read for tech companies, governments and civil society peacebuilders." – Michaela Ledesma and Helena Puig Larrauri, Directors and Co-founders of Build Up

    "The rule of law, truth, democracy, privacy and civil liberties are under threat all around the world. This book explains the particular role of social media in fuelling these negative processes. It demonstrates how such media exploit personal, social and political vulnerabilities to generate fearful citizens. The subsequent politics of fear, intolerance and domination generate political paralysis and subjugation. The dynamics of these processes are examined theoretically but more importantly are illustrated by 13 insightful case studies from all around the world. These cases demonstrate that the challenges are national in consequence but global in scope. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how to utilise social media for good in order to protect inclusive, tolerant and accountable political institutions at national and global levels." – Kevin P. Clements, Emeritus Professor of the University of Otago; Director of the Toda Peace Institute