24.02.2016 to 24.02.2016 - Maison de la Paix, Geneva

DCAF first exploratory meeting: Countering violent extremism online – The dual potential of the internet

In light of recent terrorist attacks which were in large part facilitated by social media and online resources, States are increasingly expressing concern about the role of the Internet, and in particular of social media, in promoting extremist activities. As the online world provides easy and often anonymous access to a large audience, it is not surprising that certain violent extremist organisations have turned to the Internet for as a vehicle for propaganda and recruitment. This has been further bolstered by increased use of social media and the ease of sharing images, videos and texts.

Although States do have the main responsibility and have to provide leadership, a proactive engagement with civil society organisations and the private sector is key, as especially as the latter wields significant power in controlling the availability and accessibility of these violent extremist narratives online. The establishment of public-private partnerships that develop and implement more practical and effective mechanisms to counter these extremist narratives is therefore essential for successful action countering terrorist use of social media and the internet.

This first informal exploratory meeting offered participants the opportunity to articulate their concerns and experiences in countering violent extremism (CVE) – in the online and offline worlds – as well as to express their needs and priorities going forward. It also explored the dual potential of the Internet in both facilitating and well as preventing CVE, with a view to developing guidelines to support the latter. Learn more