SOCIAL MEDIA AND CONFLICT IN IRAQ.
AN EXPLOSION OF INTERNET USERS
Before 2003, Iraq had 12,500 internet users, no cell phones, and only a limited number of landlines. Fast forward to now there are 20 million current Iraqi internet users. While the new users mean 20 million opportunities to produce digital peace, we know from organizations like Iraq Media House that far too often these same tools are co-opted to spread messages of fear, hatred, misinformation, and violence.
This is why we focused our ninth hate speech lexicon on Iraq. Working with partners like Better World Organization, Youth Without Borders, Iraqi Network for Social Media - INSM, and Iraqi Alfourdus Organization, we collected data to contextualize inflammatory language that can lead to violence.
ONGOING EFFORTS IN IRAQ
Peace is an ongoing process. We’ve implemented several peace programs in Iraq from one our first PeaceTech Exchanges with Iraqi journalist Tahseen Al-Zrikiny to the peacebuilding reality TV show Salam Shabab, Arabic for “Peace Youth." This lexicon examines new areas for peacebuilding in a country with much to gain as its residents steadily come online.