Young Digital Leaders Impact Report

LUCIE PARKER, IRIS BOYER, COOPER GATEWOOD, OCTOBER 2018

This report presents the findings from our Young Digital Leaders project which was designed to equip young people aged between 13-16 years old in Italy, Romania and Sweden with the skills they need to be safe, powerful and effective online citizens in the 21st century, and to explore new ways of teaching digital citizenship in formal educational settings in Europe. The project pioneered a unique, collaborative partnership model between students, teachers, parents and local civil society organisations.

The project, piloted by Google and ISD, used trained local facilitators to deliver one-day workshops covering a range of social challenges relating to the online world, including fake news and propaganda, echo chambers, emotional manipulation and hate speech.

This report demonstrates the effectiveness of parent education and citizenship and the need for digital resilience training and education to be embedded within national curricula and delivered regularly over a longer period of time to a wider age group.

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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.