Over the next five years an unprecedented number of initiatives will coalesce, contributing to an extension of the reach of the Internet to the world’s most remote regions. These efforts largely build on a conception of the Internet and social media as ‘liberation technologies’ that can help people realize human rights, improve access to services or reduce corruption.. However, there has been far less discussion about the impact of extending Internet access to conflict-affected regions where the state is weak or has limited reach.

The ConflictNET team will have the unique opportunity to follow, in real-time, ambitious efforts to extend the Internet to some of the world’s most challenging areas and ask difficult questions that are often overlooked. The central research question therefore asks: 

How does increased access to social media affect the balance between peace-building efforts and attempts to perpetuate violence in conflict-affected communities?

The Social Media, Conflict and Migration Observatory

In addition to the project’s research components, ConflictNET is establishing the Social Media, Conflict and Migration Observatory as a unique platform to develop public and policy engagement and debate on critical issues related to social media, conflict, governance and migration. The Observatory feeds into the research and is a space to disseminate research findings