Expanding Counterspeech Initiatives Into Pakistan and the UK

By Dr. Nawab Osman, Global Programs Lead for Dangerous Individuals and Organizations, and Asia Pacific Head of Counter-Terrorism and Dangerous Organizations
  • When someone in Pakistan or the UK searches on Facebook for content related to organized hate or violent extremism, they will now be redirected to resources and support.
  • Counterspeech is just one part of our strategy to tackle violent extremism, terrorism and organized hate.

As part of our ongoing efforts to fight violent extremism and organized hate, we’re announcing the expansion of one of our flagship counterspeech initiatives, The Redirect Initiative, into Pakistan and the UK. Now when someone in Pakistan or the UK searches on Facebook using words associated with organized hate or violent extremism, the top search result will be a link to resources and support for how to leave violence and extremism behind. We’re partnering with Shaoor Foundation in Pakistan and Exit UK in the UK. 

Research shows that challenging violent, extremist views with positive counterspeech is one of the most effective ways to combat hate and extremism. Counterspeech involves responding to hateful, extremist narratives with empathy and alternative perspectives, rather than shutting these conversations down. Counterspeech is only effective if it comes from credible voices, so we’ve partnered with various NGOs and community groups on multiple  counterspeech initiatives around the world including community programs, toolkits and research.

“At Shaoor Foundation, we have worked for many years designing and implementing peace development programs in Pakistan. Building a society that is inclusive, respectful and peaceful and involves engaging the entire community, enabling people to speak up and providing a safe, accessible space to get support. We are pleased to partner with Meta on the Redirect Initiatve to help us scale our efforts and reach more people in need in Pakistan.” – Syed Ali Hameed, Executive Director at Shaoor Foundation

The Redirect Initiative is already available in Australia, USA, Germany and Indonesia. A study by Moonshot CVE, an organization that works to counter extremism, found that the Redirect Initiative is successful at disrupting the connection between followers and the violent, extreme content they seek.

“Working in partnership with technology companies like Meta will help ensure the safety and well-being of the public and those that might be vulnerable online. At Exit UK, we help people involved in the far-right leave, and we also support wider members of the community, many of whom feel they have no-one to talk to. We understand the importance of offering non-judgemental advice and support so that over time we can help people improve their critical thinking skills and develop positive counter narratives to challenge hate online.” – Nigel Bromage, Founder of Exit UK

Counterspeech is just one part of our multi-faceted strategy to tackle violent extremism, terrorism and organized hate. Our policies clearly state that dangerous individuals and organizations themselves have no place on our platforms. We’ve banned thousands of individuals and organizations across the ideological spectrum under our rules, and we prohibit praise and support of these groups and their leaders on our platforms. We have a team of more than 350 dedicated specialists and sophisticated proactive detection technology to help us find and remove this content quickly. We’ll continue to work with diverse partners around the world to address extremism across society.

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