Kenyan Social Media Influencers and Content Creators Trained to Address Harmful Content Online

Digital technologies transformed the ways in which information is created, conveyed and consumed. Today, people around the world are more enabled than ever before to access, create, and disseminate information. Given the importance of information to decision-making, problem-solving and buildling knowledge, there is a pressing need for reliable and accurate information. However, advancements in digital technologies including the proliferation of AI technologies have also led to proliferation of harmful content across digital platforms. This phenomenon is increasingly blurring the distinction of truth/facts from falsehoods/fiction, threatening societal cohesion, security and wellbeing. As a result, today’s information space is flooded with a wide spectrum of information—ranging from credible news to disinformation and hate speech—which are at times effectively indistinguishable.  To promote the resilience of communities against this wave of harmful online content, there is a need to upskill those who create, convey and consume information on Digital, Media and Information Literacy.

Social media influencers and content creators have become prominent actors in the media and information space – breaking news on events, informing publics and shaping agendas and opinions using their platforms. They have extensive reach and influence and possess significant credibility among their followers. As such, they are key actors in providing reliable information to audiences.

Cognisant of this new reality, the Africa Centre for People, Institutions and Society (ACEPIS), supported by UNESCO, will organise a three (3) day workshop in March 2024, which aims to bolster resilience of social media influencers and content creators against harmful online content in Kenya. This workshop is part of activities of the UNESCO EU-funded Social Media for Peace (SM4P) Project and the National Coalition on Freedom of Expression and Content Moderation (FeCoMo) in Kenya.

The objectives of the workshop are to:

  • Strengthen knowledge and understanding of information disorder among social media influencers and content creators and examine strategies for tackling hate speech misinformation and disinformation;
  • Increase awareness on the existing legal and institutional framework on harmful content in Kenya;
  • Increase awareness on fundamental human and digital rights
  • Empower social media influencers and content creators to take lead in initiating efforts to combat harmful content online and promote safe and inclusive online spaces; and
  • Develop an action plan with detailed strategies and commitments on how social media influencers and content creators will contribute to tackling online hate and disinformation in Kenya.

Suitable training content has been developed and will be delivered by expert trainers from ACEPIS in collaboration with UNESCO and partners in FeCoMo, who bring expert knowledge on MIL and a wealth of experience on the digital media and information landscape in Kenya. Content has been developed and tailored based on information from a capacity needs assessment conducted prior to the training. Trainers shall utilise various methodologies like case studies, interactive training, knowledge-sharing sessions, and roundtable discussions. Participants will collectively work on an action plan, outlining their role, contributions and commitment to tackling online hate and disinformation over the next one year.

Social Media 4 Peace (SM4P)

The UNESCO EU-funded “Social Media 4 Peace” project seeks to strengthen the resilience of societies to potentially harmful content spread online, in particular hate speech inciting violence while protecting freedom of expression and enhancing the promotion of peace through digital technologies, notably social media. The project is also being implemented in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, and Colombia.

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