Is a Post Just a Post?
Social Media’s Role in Peace and Conflict
For many, social media is simply a way to communicate and connect. We share lighthearted things, like photos of our pets or the latest memes. But we also use social media to learn about and share our thoughts on matters with more serious implications, like issues pertaining to peace and conflict. Social media is a powerful influencer that has direct implications for both. By developing a false narrative, for instance, social media content can perpetuate the spread of misinformation that contributes to both virtual and real conflicts. On the flip side, social media can also promote peace by opening up dialogue between different users and encouraging tolerance, unity, and changes in perception.
Utilized by governments, movements, politicians, leaders, insurgents, and protestors (not to mention a gazillion others), social media is the influencer of choice, so we think it’s a good idea to take a closer look at its role vis-à-vis conflict and peace. In this quarterly* newsletter, we explore social media as a tool for promoting conflict and peace. In the virtual world of hashtags, followers, and likes, how do conflict and peace play out?