Extreme Dialogue: Social media Target Audience Analysis and Impact Assessments in support of countering violent extremism. An abridged summary report of findings and lessons learned.

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Can targeted engagements through social media contribute to reducing the risk of Canadians becoming involved in violent extremism? This research question broadly framed a joint 16-month project conducted by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue and The SecDev Foundation, and supported by Public Safety Canada’s Kanishka Programme. Advanced social media research tradecraft and tools clearly do have the potential to yield fine-tuned audience data and metrics, of potentially great use for targeted campaigns, and for later tracking of campaign resonance (uptake). However, they also risk returning too much information which could violate rights to privacy and raise wider societal concerns. Existing guidance and legislation on these issues remain underdeveloped and require re-doubled policy engagement and efforts (including around issues of protection of minors online). The analysis and assessment in this report explores these issues and many more. 
The intended audience for this report are researchers and practitioners that are actively experimenting with applying risk reduction methods to address violent extremism online. This report is an abridged version of a final technical report submitted to Public Safety Canada. This version of the report has been edited to highlight the key findings and lessons learned that may have value for a wider public audience, specifically, identifying engagement with the main mechanisms used by Extreme Dialogue to reach out to potential target audiences. The findings are mostly tactical and should be understood as lessons learned and findings specific to the project (and its constraints), and the choice of material that was used by the Extreme Dialogue website. 

SecDev Foundation