Internet Citizens – Impact Report

LOUIS REYNOLDS, DECEMBER 2017

This report presents the evaluation of the the first phase of ISD’s Internet Citizens, which took place in 17 youth centres, reaching 500 young people and around 75 youth workers.

The project, run in partnership with Google, UK Youth, Livity, Wonder and ISD, is designed to teach media literacy, critical thinking and digital citizenship, and to encourage young people to be positive voices online while increasing their resilience to hate and extremism. It also helps give participants the confidence to use platforms like YouTube to express their identities, as empowered producers and not just consumers of content.

This report describes why this project and projects like it are so necessary, presents why it was created, and outlines its theory of change. It presents our reflections on Internet Citizens, and closes with a series of recommendations for future work in this area.

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The Online Ecosystem of the German Far-Right

This report presents the findings of a research project of ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit about the alternative online-ecosystem of the far-right, including alternative social media platforms and alternative media outlets. While these platforms draw in a global audience this report focuses specifically on the German speaking and Germany-focused communities and outlets within this ecosystem. Drawing together ISD’s digital ethnographic work across dozens of forums and channels with the latest in machine learning and natural language processing, this report provides an overview over the size and nature of the far-right communities on these platforms the motivations for participating in these communities and assesses whether banning far-right groups from mainstream platforms leads to the displacement of their followers to ‘alternative’ platforms. We also analyse the role of alternative ‘news’ outlets in disseminating far right concepts, drawing on the‘Hate Observatory’, a joint initiative of ISD and the MIT Media Lab , based on their Media Cloud software, and compare the frequency and types of coverage of far-right themes in mainstream and alternative media. This report also recommends steps to be taken by tech companies, government, civil society and researchers to counter the far-right online.