MeCoDEM Workshop on Social Media, Conflict and Democracy (Brussels, Nov 18)




in cooperation with

logo-infocore vox-pol


offers a joint workshop themed

“Social Media, Conflict and Democracy: Utopian Visions, Dystopian Futures and Pragmatic Policies”



We offered a live broadcast of the workshop. It has been recorded and is available below:



How do social media, fuelled by the rise of Internet-enabled technologies, play a role in assisting democratic change during times of conflict in today’s digitally connected world?

Conversely, how are social media used to escalate conflicts and aid the formation of extremist networks?

Have the utopian visions — so often presented in the media during the so-called “Arab Spring” — of how social media can trigger political change now transformed into dystopian visions of social media used for surveillance, anti-democratic propaganda and repression?

These are among the central questions to be addressed in a workshop entitled “Social Media, Conflict & Democracy: Utopian Visions, Dystopian Futures and Pragmatic Policies” to be held at the Press Club Brussels on Friday, November 18 (09:00h – 12:00h). The workshop will be of interest to, for example, journalists, scholars, activists, policy-makers, NGOs and think tanks.

Among the keynote speakers at the event is world-renowned Egyptian blogger and journalist Wael Abbas, famous for his outspoken Tweets tackling key issues in Egypt. In addition, a set of other speakers representing three large-scale, transnational EU-funded projects — MeCoDEM, INFOCORE and VOX-Pol — will be showcasing research done in areas related to ICTs, (violent) conflict, democracy and security.

Following the talks and presentation of research, the floor will be open for discussion and debate on one of the most important topics in contemporary political communication.


euThe MeCoDEM project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613370. Project Term: 1.2.2014 – 31.1.2017.


Agenda (preliminary):

Friday 18 November 2016  (9:00h-12:00h)
08:30h Registration Conference Hall, The Press Club
09:00h – 09:25h Welcome and introductions
  Prof. Katrin Voltmer, MeCoDEM
University of Leeds
Dr. Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, INFOCORE
The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy
Dr. Matti Pohjonen, VOX-Pol
University of Amsterdam
09:25h – 09:40h Keynote speech
  Wael Abbas, Egyptian journalist and blogger
09:40h – 09:55h Keynote speech
  Lucinda Armstrong, European Commission DG Home
09:55h – 10:10h Discussion
10:10h – 10:45h Findings from the MeCoDEM project:
Prof. Christian Christensen, MeCoDEM
University of Stockholm
MeCodify: An open source project for extracting and analysing tweets
Dr. Walid Al-Saqaf, MeCoDEM
University of Stockholm
Twitter and governance in South Africa
Dr. Heather Ford, MeCoDEM
University of Leeds
10:45h – 11:00h Coffee break
11:00h – 11:35h Findings from the INFOCORE project
  Suggesting an interdisciplinary approach to the study of social media in conflict-ridden societies
Asst. Prof. Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Principal Investigator WP5 “Social Media”, INFOCORE
Dr. Salome Boukala, Postdoctoral researcher WP5 “Social Media”, INFOCORE The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy
Challenges in analysing big data in conflict contexts
Sergios Lenis, Researcher WP5 “Social Media”, INFOCORE
11:35h – 12:00h Findings from the VOX-pol project
  Comparative mapping of online networks of the EU’s extreme far right and ISIS: Lessons learned for research and policy
Matti Pohjonen, VOX-Pol
University of Amsterdam
12:00h – 13:00h Lunch and networking


For more information, please contact Walid Al-Saqaf on