Beyond Keyboard Warriors & Surveillance: Social Media Impact on Peace & Conflict in the Horn of Africa

This March-April issue focuses on social media and its impact on peace and conflict in the Horn of Africa. State fragility, authoritarianism and stalled or on-going democratisation processes, all of which in some ways define the African condition, makes Africa an interesting test case for the impact of the internet and social media on the dynamics of conflict, peace and political transformation. While social media platforms had arguably been assigned an outsized role in the outbreak and unfolding of the ‘Arab Spring’ which began in North Africa, the initial euphoria and enthusiasm regarding the emancipatory potential of social media has since cooled off appreciably. Developments in Libya and Egypt coupled with the masterful exploitation of social media platforms by ‘extremist’ groups for recruitment and propaganda purposes has underlined the inherently Janus-faced nature of social media platforms, a point underscored by several articles in this issue of the HAB.

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