We conduct research and interventions to address polarization on social and digital media in contexts across the globe.
Interventions in Digital Conflict
Since 2017, we have run an intervention on social media in the USA that has reached 250,000 people with messages addressing polarization. Our facilitators have interacted in sustained dialogue with 2,280 of the people we reached. Other projects in this (more recent) program area have so far been research oriented; we are actively considering how to implement findings and conduct more interventions in this space.
The Commons is Build Up’s tested and successful intervention to address polarization in social media in the USA. We first piloted The Commons project in 2017. Throughout 2019, we ran a scaled-up version of the project, testing a variety of strategies, and our evaluation concluded that we have designed and tested a model that delivers results and impact at a reasonable cost and can be scaled. In 2020, we plan to adapt this model with an explicit focus around topics, events and geographies relevant during the 2020 election year, and to scale it to reach more people.
In 2015, Internews launched NewsThatMoves, a news website for people who are displaced or seeking asylum, especially in Greece and the Balkans, that produces independent, verified information people can use. Internews contracted Build Up to design, develop and launch the NewsThatMoves site and related social media campaigns. We did this until August 2016; the site is now entirely run by Internews. The site has been recognised as a critical resource for refugees.
Research on Digital Conflict
Analysing refugee-host community narratives on social media in Lebanon
In November 2018, UNDP commissioned Build Up to conduct a comprehensive mapping and analysis of Syrian refugee-host community relations in Lebanon (including narratives, sentiments and amount of traffic) on Facebook and Twitter. The final report covers findings from a desk review, qualitative interviews and analysis of over 2.6 million Tweets and 14,734 Facebook posts and comments. Building on this analysis, the report also serves to identify challenges and opportunities for UNDP to integrate social media monitoring into its programming.
Strategy Support to Stonewall
As the UK’s leading LGBT rights organisation, Stonewall often deals with conflict among diverse stakeholders. Build Up worked with Stonewall staff to analyse how conflict was showing up on social media and introduce a number of innovative policies and tools (including non-violent communications and social media listening) to strategize about how to overcome challenges in new ways.
Cyprus Dialogue Forum
Build Up conducted a pilot design for the Cyprus Dialogue Forum to investigate whether and how an analysis of conversations on Facebook and Twitter could inform dialogue discussions.