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In this issue of Insights, ISD takes a deeper look at the rapidly evolving online Salafi ecosystem, uncovers the re-emergence of a pro-Russian propaganda outlet on Facebook, and finds that TikTok is failing to tag almost 60% of COVID-19 vaccine-related content, while YouTube is failing to remove antivaxx misinformation more broadly. Also in this newsletter: 
RESEARCH RECAP
Research series: Digital Salafism, an emerging youth counterculture
ISD research explores the rapidly evolving online Salafi landscape and the young people turning to a conservative, rules-based religious system. Our 'Islamogram' report also maps the merging of Salafi ideas with alt-right memes and gaming subcultures.
More here
Persistent pro-Russian propaganda organisation re-establishes foothold on Facebook
An investigation by ISD finds that sanctioned pro-Russian propaganda organisation News Front still operates on Facebook, despite repeatedly being removed in 2020 and 2021 for violating platform policies. 
 
More here
The threat of conspiratorial COVID-sceptic extremism
Elise Thomas argues that anti-lockdown protests in Australia and New Zealand are characterised less by far-right ideology and more by conspiratorial extremism, despite media emphasis to the contrary.
 
More here
Mapping the reach of online extremism in Slovakia
Slovak governments are aware of extremism in their communities, but there is a critical gap in the understanding of the online landscape, where local far-right politicians are among those amplifying extremist narratives.
 
More here
Antivaxx videos hide in plain sight on YouTube despite major policy shift
ISD investigates why, despite YouTube’s vaccine misinformation policy, dozens of antivaxx videos with millions of views collectively remain on the platform, exposing a serious gap in policy enforcement. 

 
More here
TikTok falls short in labelling COVID-19 vaccine-related content
In 2020, TikTok vowed to detect and tag all videos relating to the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of veracity. However, in a sample of over 6,000 videos, we found the platform had failed to tag over half of these vaccine-related videos.
More here
GET INVOLVED

Opportunity for UK schools looking to encourage digital citizenship 

The Be Internet Citizens (BIC) programme is offering an opportunity for schools to partner with ISD and YouTube on its Winter and Spring Term evaluations. Participating schools will receive £500 to support classroom resources in delivering BIC’s Unit of Work to students aged 13-16, and collecting data on learning outcomes.
Deadline to apply is Friday 17th December. Click here for more info.

ISD’s Young Cities brings together youth activists, mayors and policymakers in North Macedonia

ISD’s Young Cities welcomed youth activists, mayors and government officials at a Showcase event in North Macedonia, highlighting our work in empowering young people by training, funding, and supporting more than 75 activists in developing projects for social change. The youth teams were also given an opportunity to network with policymakers, discuss future funding and collaborate with similar organisations. Through the projects we have supported, Young Cities has impacted more than 3.5 million young people across 5 countries, and will be expanding into a sixth, Belgium, by the end of the month.

We talk more about the importance of youth-municipal relations here, and for more information on how to join our network, please visit our page

Join us in Paris to discuss media and digital literacy education

Our next ReNews seminar will be held in Paris on December 4. We'll be gathering students and education professionals interested in developing responsible digital and social media use, and furthering Media and Information Literacy (MIL) skills at their institutions. Limited room and board compensations are available to participants residing outside France. For more information and to register please click here.

ReNews also recently launched a Media Literacy Handbook as a resource for educators looking to advance MIL skills within the classroom. This is available in English, French, Turkish and Polish.

EVENTS
Our Head of Political Integrity and Digital Communication, Jiore Craig, joined global thought-leaders for the Global Progress 2021 Summit in Rome. Jiore discussed digital threats to democracy and the policy interventions needed to defend against them with French MP Laetitia Avia, MEP Sandro Gozi, and Executive Director of Reset, Ben Scott.
Africa Summit: Supporting City-Led Efforts to Address Hate, Polarisation and Extremism
Join SCN for a series of five webinars from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3, exploring the ways in which cities and other sub-national authorities can better contribute to ‘whole of society’ efforts to address hate, polarisation, and extremism in Africa. To register, please click here.
 
South Asia Summit: Supporting City-Led Efforts to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism
Following the Africa Summit, the SCN will be hosting its inaugural South Asia Summit from Dec. 6 to 8. This event will bring together government officials, experts and civil society to discuss the role of cities in preventing and countering violent extremism. For more information, please click here.
ISD IN THE MEDIA
ISD's Ciáran O'Connor spoke to NBC News about the latest viral “vaccine detox” theories and how platforms like TikTok are helping promote potentially dangerous methods.
 
Our COP26 War Room monitoring unit is profiled in articles by Cities Today, NPR and The Guardian, highlighting our efforts over COP26 to assess mis- and disinformation activity and threats in relation to the Summit and public opinion.
 
Jennie King, who led our 'War Room' efforts in Glasgow, spoke with NPR about the weaponisation of climate change narratives by climate sceptic actors, and by groups with extremist and conspiracist affiliations.
 
Julia Ebner spoke to Refinery 29 about the urgency in recognising misogyny as a hate crime in the UK, arguing it is not covered by current measures to protect women from domestic violence and abuse.
 
VACANCIES

Join our team to counter hate, extremism and disinformation globally 

ISD has grown across all of our areas of work in the last year, with new team members joining us in over 14 countries globally. We are currently looking for exceptional people to take on vital roles, including a Programme Manager in Jordan and a Senior M&E Manager to work across our programming. If you would like to know more about upcoming opportunities or submit a speculative application, please visit our careers portal below.

New ISD vacancies
SUPPORT OUR WORK
Help ISD safeguard democracy

We have been committed to the fight against hate, extremism, polarisation and disinformation for nearly 15 years and it's all thanks to support from people like you. As an independent, non-profit organisation, our work is reliant on grants and donations to stay on the forefront of analysing and responding to threats to democracy in all their forms. 

By donating to ISD, your contribution will ensure we can continue to analyse, advise, and act to create stronger, more cohesive societies. Join us by donating at the link below.

Donate now
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Copyright © Institute for Strategic Dialogue (2021). Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company registration number 06581421 and registered charity number 1141069. Registered office address: PO Box 75769, London, SW1P 9ER, United Kingdom. All rights reserved. 
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