Social Media Anti-Radicalisation Training for Credible Voices

SMART-CV is a projected funded by DG Home Affairs and led by West Yorkshire Police, involving partners from Estonia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Germany. CENTRIC was appointed as the external evaluator of the project after a competitive tendering process. The project aims to develop a table top exercise and training for use by Law Enforcement Agencies in Europe which shares best practice and increases awareness of the benefits of harnessing the power and influence of social media to prevent radicalisation of individuals following a local, national or global terrorist related incident.

During the 18 months of the project a series of table top exercises will be developed for both trainers and the identified credible voices using localised material to ensure relevance to those attending and delivering the events. The training will seek to demonstrate how an incident with local, national or international impact can spark the mass use of social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, to spread opinions, credible or not, in a matter of moments. It will demonstrate the positive aspects of the adoption of a proactive use of social media in the management of such incidents, and will also show it can support the creation of a network of “Credible Voices” within communities to assist with positive and informed exchange between LEA’s, other stakeholders and the wider community in order to prevent the radicalisation of others. These credible community voices will provide an important and powerful counter-narrative against those also using the social networks to spread radical ideas and negative messages following a terrorist incident.

In short SMART-CV aims to manage the impacts and outcomes of CT incidents by identifying individuals (or ‘Credible Voices’) with moderate ideologies who represent and have credibility within affected communities and have understanding of the benefits of proactive use of social media. By understanding the role and impact of social media and the internet, these Credible Voices can use their reach and influence to establish counter-narratives and promote critical thinking to dispel conspiracy theories, encouraging a more positive discourse and exchange of information and intelligence between LEAs and the communities which they serve.