social media diplomacy

Chess board

Digital diplomacy involves more than simply social media, argues Shaun Riordan.

March 17, 2017

A new campaign by Amnesty International has given refugees the chance to take to Twitter as they urge for more action to be taken in the on-going migrant crisis. Social media users who tweet about the crisis have been receiving direct video responses from residents of refugee camps in Lebanon and Kenya. The ‘I Welcome’ campaign has allowed refugees to respond to tweets asking social media users to take action and do more than just share their outrage.

You can fight a visible enemy with guns and bombs. But how do you face the fury of online radicalisation and recruitment of youngsters who are misled with misquoted verses and other sacred statements. By quoting the right verses with their proper contexts and interpretations, of course. This is exactly what the famous Mahim Dargah, in collaboration with Goregaon-based Madrassa Darul Uloom Faizan-e-Raza, is doing. They are fighting the terrorist outfit Daesh or Islamic State (IS) through social networks and helping stop youths from getting swayed by extremist propaganda.

“Don’t you kill our own Muslim brothers?” a mop-haired youth asks a terrorist recruiter in one animated video showing up on Arabic Facebook accounts in North Africa. “So much of this, it doesn’t seem right.” The video is one of several paid ads that are turning up on millions of cellphones and computer screens in countries known to be top recruiting grounds for the Islamic State. The ads offer a harrowing view of life inside the self-proclaimed caliphate, sometimes with photos or cartoons and often in the words of refugees and defectors who warn others to stay away.

After the internet mocked the picture of US President Donald Trump signing the travel ban executive order, Swedish Deputy PM and Climate Minister has taken a dig at another similar picture. Isabella Lövin posted a picture of her signing an order with a queue of female ministers standing behind her. The image is seen as a parody of the picture of President Trump signing an anti-abortion executive order with a line of male ministers standing behind him.

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