Addressing the weaponization of social media
GAAMAC partner the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) has been at the cutting edge of identifying trends regarding social media and online hate, as well as sensitizing state actors and civil society groups to its potential dangers. The Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention Lab (DMAP Lab) was launched in 2014 to address the growing threat posed by the weaponization of social media to demonize vulnerable human groups, foment radical ideologies, and cultivate environments ripe for atrocity crimes. The DMAP Lab seeks to counter these abuses through developing international partnerships, training initiatives, and the development of sound public policies to keep up with this ever-changing cyber landscape.
The initiatives of the DMAP Lab include a partnership with Global Affairs Canada; Mapping the Artificial Intelligence, Networked Hate and Human Rights Project; A Digital Fellows Network; a partnership with Facebook’s Global Digital Challenge; Publishing op-eds and providing media interviews to highlight the most urgent issues regarding the role of the Internet in provoking mass atrocities.
MIGS’ upcoming projects related to online hate include:
- A partnership with UNESCO to research and develop an action plan to combat online anti-Semitism and Holocaust distortion/denial.
- Convening the second annual Human Rights and AI Forum, co-hosted with industry-leader Element AI, to be held in Montreal in April 2020.
- Convening the #RightsCity initiative in Ottawa, Canada in June 2020 around the theme: “Human Rights in the Digital Age”.
- Hosting a Twitter conference in January 2020 on the Christchurch Principles in collaboration with the Helen Clark Foundation.
MIGS continues to invite discourse on the contentious issue of balancing the realities of this new digital era and protecting the human rights of vulnerable people. By hosting conferences, connecting diverse actors, and participating in public debate, they hope to bring the topic of online intolerance to the forefront. The advent of the Internet requires policy-makers to contend with an entirely new medium for spreading hate and inciting violence - within this context, MIGS seeks to facilitate policy innovation that stays a step ahead of the hate and harnesses cyberspace as a tool for peace.