Where Peacebuilding and Social Media Intersect: Research on Technology and Social Cohesion

14 September 2023

Toxic polarization is increasing globally, contributing to violence and hampering efforts to solve pressing public problems. While not the origin of social and political division, there is wide agreement that the design of many social media products amplifies polarization.

Myriad Canada worked with the D.C.-based organization Search for Common Ground to investigate the intersection of peacebuilding and social media and identify opportunities and barriers to greater collaboration toward a more conflict resilient, socially-cohesive and less inflammatory social media environment. The research was conducted in partnership with Notre Dame University’s Kroc Institute.

This initiative was also part of a broader effort undertaken by the Council for Technology and Social Cohesion, a coalition that aims to develop, test, and learn from technology-supported approaches and to drive new collaboration for an ecosystem that fosters safer and healthier communities, both on and offline.

The resulting foundational research drew on interviews with industry and social actors and laid the foundation for a roadmap intended to elevate and incentivize technology for social cohesion. The research and roadmap were launched in February 2023 at a conference in San Francisco that attracted technologists, researchers, designers, civic groups, investors and participants from over 100 tech companies, ranging from startups to mainstream platforms.

We are pleased to share the various reports and the roadmap with you.