Combating Online Xenophobia and Seeding Narratives that Connect Us

What Authoritarian Online Networks Can Tell Us about Strategies Towards Democratic Cohesion

Location: Atelier 3

Over the past decade, it has become increasingly  clear to those working at the forefront of migrant and human rights that we need to take proactive steps to stop the spread of authoritarian ideologies, which often target vulnerable communities. Equally important, we need smart and coordinated efforts to build narrative infrastructure and policies that help realize a positive vision of belonging. Belonging needs cannot be exclusionary and therefore we need to find ways to have democratic civil discourses focused on problem solving rather than moral grandstanding.

This session examines the work of tracking and understanding moralisation and hateful rhetoric online in both the US and Europe, and how that research can inform and support the critical work of democratic cohesion. Polarization is fueled by mis- and disinformation, both in the form of misinforming the public and by creating widespread dismissals of legitimate disagreements over how migration is handled as “fake news.” This discussion will explore the nuances of the study and debate of mis and disinformation in migration media narratives through an international lens. How can we understand the virulent online spread of narratives of hate that are increasingly successful in mainstreaming radical and divisive narratives and policy positions -- and use those learnings to build support a more open democratic discourse around immigration and belonging that does not resort to dehumanizing tropes and frames?

We hope that this conversation can jumpstart critical conversations and partnerships and that, together, we can build the needed infrastructure, willpower and funding and help build a common vocabulary and network that can facilitate global coordinated action. 

Presented by Define American: 

Define American is a United States based, narrative change, non-profit organization that uses the power of storytelling to humanize the conversation about immigrants. Our groundbreaking research on the distribution mechanisms of the Great Replacement theory on YouTube helped uncover the highly organized and well funded network of actors behind the mainstreaming of this far right conspiracy. 

Friday, October 27, 2023