Social Media as an Instrument for Youth-Led Conflict Resolution in the Southern Neighbourhood

15 February 2024 | Policy Brief | English

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Within the framework of EuroMeSCo, a project co-funded by the European Union and the IEMed.

Social media, as a broad conflagration of interactive websites and applications oriented around sharing content in an online community, is reshaping how, when and whether conflicts will manifest or end in the physical world (Proctor, 2021; Brown & Livingston, 2019). This is exemplified by cases such as the violence in Syria that resulted from the false online portrayal of White Helmets as a terrorist rather than humanitarian group (Mercy Corps, 2019), or the role played by social media in the coordination and mobilisation of activists during the Arab uprisings (Brown, Guskin, & Mitchell, 2012).

Looking towards the digital ecosystem of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and specifically the Southern Neighbourhood (SN) of the European Union (EU), online users between the ages of 15 and 29 (hereafter youth) dominate in terms of social media usage (ITU, 2022; We Are Social & Meltwater, 2023), and are thus most likely to be informed on, and ready to tackle, its misuse (weaponisation) when offered sufficient training and support (Council of Europe, 2018; EC, 2022c). Practically, the weaponisation of social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, X, TikTok, Telegram, YouTube, WhatsApp), and their influence on conflict settings, is made evident through increasingly frequent and sophisticated misinformation and disinformation campaigns.



Visit the EuroMesCo website to download the policy brief.