PeaceTech Lab Lexicons

Lexicons take a deep dive into online hate speech and explore opportunities for awareness, prevention, and mitigation.

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Social Media and Conflict in Cameroon

Cameroon’s Deepening Crisis

A rich and complicated colonial history, poor governance, a deterioration in rule of law, corruption and suppression of free speech and human rights have created a steadily worsening conflict scenario in Cameroon known as the Anglophone Crisis. The crisis has cost hundreds of lives and displaced an estimated 200,000 in the country’s Northwest and Southwest regions since it began in 2016. Presidential elections in October 2018 accelerated the crisis and atrocities continue to be committed by both sides.

Putting an End to a Dangerous Trend

Amid this context, PeaceTech Lab undertook extensive research to understand the role that online hate speech plays in the ongoing crisis. Rooted in a series of focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with expert insights from local Cameroonians, Social Media and Conflict in Cameroon identifies and explains inflammatory and offensive terms that contribute to the Anglophone Crisis while offering alternative words and phrases that can be used to prevent and stop the spread of hate speech. PeaceTech Lab aims for this Lexicon to serve as a pivotal resource for individuals and organizations fighting against hate speech in Cameroon.


Youth and Radicalization in Mombasa, Kenya


Although it is well-known that extremist groups such as al-Shabaab use social media to spread fear and recruit susceptible youth, there is very little evidence-based research that details how at-risk youth use social media and how language is used online by extremists to radicalize and recruit these youth. By better understanding language related to violent extremism and utilizing innovative social media monitoring technologies to track radical online narratives, PeaceTech Lab has developed a solid analytical foundation that will inform and support local P/CVE efforts in Mombasa.


In partnership with Wasafiri Consulting and with funding from DAI, PeaceTech Lab identified, monitored, and analyzed online content and the sources of influence used by extremist groups to radicalize youth in specific communities in Mombasa, Kenya. The project, published in May 2018, ensures that rigorous research around online violent extremism informs locally-driven, participatory initiatives that can build resilience and prevent radicalization in at-risk communities.


Social Media and Conflict in Nigeria


In 2017, PeaceTech Lab expanded its role in combating online hate speech to Nigeria where the country's varied conflict scenarios and growing tech use create an environment for the presence and proliferation of inflammatory language. As Nigeria approaches the 2019 general election, there is immense concern that hate speech will rise and have a damaging effect on the election process.


PeaceTech Lab developed a Lexicon of Hate Speech Terms in Nigeria, combining cutting-edge social media analysis with in-country expertise to identify both the terms likely to incite violence and their social and political context. The Lexicon, published in April 2018, also identifies alternative language that would mitigate the impact of this speech.


Social Media and Conflict in South Sudan


Since the outbreak of violence in the world's newest country in December 2013, South Sudanese have called attention to how hate speech has inflamed further violent conflict. 

But what's the connection between online hate narratives and violence on the ground in South Sudan? How do we begin to understand those connections?


To address these questions, PeaceTech Lab developed a Lexicon of Hate Speech Terms in South Sudan, combining cutting-edge social media analysis with in-country expertise to identify both the terms likely to incite violence, and their social and political context. The Lexicon, published in December 2016, identifies alternative language to mitigate hate speech impact.

The goal of this research is to inform organizations and individuals combating hate speech and building peace in South Sudan, as well as to raise awareness among social media users on the dangers of specific inflammatory language.

Learn more about hate speech in South Sudan.