Google, Facebook and Twitter are fighting extremism in Pakistan

Extremism in Pakistan


5 minutes read

Extremism, be it religious, political or socio-economic have tightly clenched the people of Pakistan in its terror-stricken-claws. While extremism in Pakistan is being dealt with iron hand but social media, the strongest medium at present, also came up with the idea of utilizing its full potential and started targeting masses through animated videos. We are in such a position where more ways need to be devised to fight this menace. Military operations are doing their part of job in the best possible manner but it’s the minds of extremists and hence masses that needs to be tackled carefully.

In the realm of ongoing happenings, not only in Pakistan but all around the world, it’s about time to counter extremism that seems to have become fast widespread. The power of social media has been brought into use to invalidate radicalization. Google in collaboration with Facebook and Twitter have started a new campaign of video advertisements which is helping to fight extremism in Pakistan, United States, and the United Kingdom. Such videos are targeted at extremists before they instill far-reaching changes in the mind sets of masses.

Those who had posted material content with terms like “mujahideen”, “Sharia” or “Jihad” or any such likewise term, started seeing in their newsfeed animated videos. The videos were many of a kind but carrying the same message of counteracting terrorism. In one of the videos, a powerful message is conveyed saying;

Do not be confused by what extremists say, that you must reject the new world. You don’t need to pick, Remember, peace up. Extremist thinking out.

The experiment conducted by the trio is to check how far-reaching impacts these messages can have on both extremists and those vulnerable to otherwise extremist thoughts. Three Campaigns run separately by different organizations were tested by Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

Campaigns held to tackle Extremism in Pakistan, Us and UK

One being ‘Average Mohamed’, US-based nonprofit organization, had a major reach on Facebook amounting to 456,113 people who saw the campaign. While it’s advertising cost was 3,139 pounds. Its videos explained Islam and forbade American teens from joining jihadist groups.

The other project ‘Harakat-ut-Taleem’, being run by an anonymous group from Pakistan produced videos that deterred people from joining Taliban. Its total advertising cost amounted to 14,573 pounds, reaching to a total of 88,351 newsfeeds.

The third project “ExitUSA” targeted white supremacists. Focusing on the ones already radicalized, were wanted to leave white power groups.

The results of the experiments are yet to be deduced and declared in the study which is set to be published today by London-based think tank Institute for Strategic Dialogue. While the said campaigns lasted for about three weeks each, the total aggregate shows exposure of people to such videos for 1.6 million times, with 379,000 video views across the social media.

Yasmin Green, Head of Jigsaw at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said such experiments will lead a way towards the understanding of efficient methods to tackle the situation at hand.

It is said that recent attacks like those of nice or Iraq or Turkey and Florida (long list) were being carried out in response to violent internet material. In the wake of call counter-narrative campaigns were devised.

What else could help in eradicating extremism in Pakistan?

The ways that could actually tackle the worsening situation of extremism in Pakistan needs to be chalked out. Curriculum, first of all should be well thought out. The history books are merely propagating extremist thoughts. A proper team of well-educated people should be formed who could carefully choose out the balanced form of books.
Secondly, the violent content/videos should be banned from main stream media as well as from social media. For which, as already mentioned, Social Media giants have taken an initiative.

Previously known for its less credibility, internet boomed over past few decades to have taken the top spot in being highly authentic and extremely relied upon medium by masses for remaining updated. This step taken by Google, Facebook and Twitter seems to be going in the right direction.

What do you think about this step taken? How else you think extremism in Pakistan could be tackled? Do let us know in the comments section.