The Counter-Narrative Monitoring & Evaluation Handbook

LOUIS REYNOLDS AND HENRY TUCK, NOVEMBER 2016

Given the proliferation of violent extremist content online in recent years, developing effective counter-narratives – messages that offer a positive alternative to extremist propaganda, or deconstruct or delegitimise extremist narratives and challenge extremist ideologies – is an increasingly necessary alternative to online censorship.

This Handbook has been funded with support from the European Commission. It was created by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) to help anyone looking to evaluate their counter-narrative campaigns, and is intended as a beginner’s guide for those with little or no previous experience of counter-narrative campaign evaluation. It can also be used alongside ISD’s freely available online Counter-narrative Toolkit and ISD’s Counter Narrative Handbook.

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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.