The Conflict in Jammu and Kashmir and the Convergence of Technology and Terrorism

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This paper provides recommendations for what government and social media companies can do in the context of Jammu and Kashmir’s developing online theatre of both potential radicalisation and recruitment

Global Research Network on Terrorism and Technology Paper

Key Findings

  • Blanket policies to counter terrorist and related content are problematic. Social media companies must approach places such as Jammu and Kashmir with a more nuanced perspective, and build bridges between state and central governments along with civil society.
  • Objectionable, propaganda content removal must take place faster. In Jammu and Kashmir, violent mobilisation based on online content (both fake and real) is seen as a major issue for law enforcement.
  • WhatsApp is the most problematic platform in India. More attention is required to addresses the issues of fake content and propaganda tailored to this platform.
  • Internet shutdowns by the state as a counterterrorist policy are largely ineffective. Platforms must factor in mobilisation as a metric when formulating policies to tackle content in a conflict zone.
  • Content sharing requires more checks and balances, and the ease of sharing needs to be revisited in light of the kind of content shared and created by terror groups or individuals.
  • Government and social media platforms currently suffer from a lack of trust between them; this needs to be bridged.

Summary of Recommendations

  • The government should work with social media platforms, technology companies and civil society organisations to create a framework that clearly defines what constitutes extremist or terrorist content, without infringing on constitutional standards of freedom of speech.
  • Counter-narratives should be developed with the help of civil society groups including teachers, religious leaders and social workers, which discredit and undermine messages of terrorism on the internet.
  • The long-term impact of internet shutdowns should be carefully considered and technology companies should work with the government to find solutions for conflict-prone regions that avoid shutdowns, particularly in times of crisis.
  • Social media companies should work towards reducing the time between when violent, militant content is reported, analysed and removed.
  • The government should encourage social media platforms to set up local research units in conflict-prone regions, to gain a first-hand understanding of the conflict on the ground and how different narratives may aggravate or improve the problem.

Kabir Taneja is an Associate Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.
Kriti M Shah is a Junior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.


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