The Impact of Counter-Narratives

TANYA SILVERMAN, CHRISTOPHER J. STEWART, ZAHED AMANULLAH AND JONATHAN BIRDWELL, AUGUST 2016

The concept of creating counter-narrative in order to push back against extremist recruitment and propaganda has become well established in recent years. In practice, however, it has proven difficult to curate this content in a systematic way, target it toward at risk audiences, and – most importantly – measure constructive impact on their behaviour.

ISD’s Impact of Counter Narratives report presents the development, deployment, and evaluation of three counter- narrative campaigns orchestrated by the Against Violent Extremism network and Jigsaw (an incubator within Alphabet that uses technology to address geopolitical issues) with additional in-kind and financial support from Facebook and Twitter. The report provides fresh evidence that social media campaigns can help spark de-radicalisation.

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Voices of Pakistani Youth: Lessons for Civil Society in the Development of Effective Counter-Narrative Campaigns

This report provides a series of evidence-based lessons for international NGOs, practitioners and activists working in Pakistan, to improve their capacities in developing counter-narrative campaigns to counter extremism and hate speech. Through YouthCAN, focus groups bringing together 70 young people from Islamabad explored how youth in the country understand extremism and hate speech: how they define these issues, where they encounter them, and who they see as responsible.

Developing a Civil Society Response to Online Manipulation

This document presents a vision for a pan-civil societal response to online manipulation. In part, it argues, this will come down to capability: building a pooled detection capacity to function as a transparent, public interest alter­native to those built by the tech giants. In part, it will require new organisational philosophies and forms of co-operation, and in part new approaches to funding and support.

YouthCAN: The Many States of Activism

To help address the need for a more robust and youth-inclusive evidence base, ISD conducted a survey that was completed by 728 young activists globally to find out which barriers and opportunities had been most significant to their activism journey, as well as which skills they valued most.