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From Likes to Violence: How Big Tech is Helping Fuel Extremism

Social media can be an effective tool for fostering community, but across the globe, social platforms have also been used to fuel extremism. On the latest episode of Deep Dish, experts Leah Kimathi and Kristina Wilfore use Kenya as a case study to explore how lax moderation by Big Tech companies has allowed disinformation, hate, and terror to spread. 

"Facebook is failing […] to catch Islamic State groups and Al-Shabaab extremist content in posts aimed at East Africa. In fact, they essentially let an entire news ecosystem develop,” Wilfore says. “It's been very troubling to me to really not have the reaction from European and US policymakers who have invested millions of dollars in security—hard security—to then not consider the online aspect of this.” 

Listen to the full episode

The Data Dimension

When it comes to thwarting terror threats against the United States, most American think they can count on agencies like the CIA and NSA to keep them safe. In a 2022 survey conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, 79 percent of respondents said the intelligence community was either very or somewhat effective in preventing terrorist attacks on the US homeland. 

What We're Watching

  • Two years of Taliban rule: The anniversary of the Taliban's return to power has reignited a debate about how best to support the Afghan people. Research Assistant Lama El Baz looks to polling data for insights.
  • BRICS expansion: Washington should be asking hard questions about why an alternative to Western-led institutions appeals to countries in the Global South, Senior Fellow Elizabeth Shackelford argues.  
  • The GOP’s isolationist streak: “In pressing to scale back overseas commitments and reduce immigration, MAGA Republicans are reviving ideas that have been part of US foreign policy discourse for generations,” Nonresident Fellow Jordan Tama explains. 
  • Ukraine’s political future: As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues, join former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and the Council’s Ivo Daalder on September 18 for a conversation about the past, present, and future of the country's democracy.   

Ask An Expert

What should we make of Xi Jinping’s decision to skip the G20? 
"headshot of Craig Kafura"
“If he does not attend the APEC summit in November in San Francisco, then I think we have to ask real questions about what's keeping him from attending these meetings, because although Li Qiang can represent China, Xi Jinping is very clearly the man in charge in China. There will be an effect I think on China's ability to fully represent and fully commit to things without Xi Jinping's personal stamp on some of these issues.”

—Assistant Director of Public Opinion and Foreign Policy Craig Kafura via India Today​​​​​​

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About the Author
Communications Officer
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As the communications officer for the Lester Crown Center, Libby Berry works to connect audiences with foreign policy research and analysis.
headshot of Libby Berry