RMMS Briefing paper 2_Social Media in Mixed MigrationUPLOAD.pdf
ERResearch's bookmarks 2016-08-08
Research on Tahriib from Somaliland and Puntland by the Rift Valley Institute, identified social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp as mechanisms to facilitate peer pressure.46 The widespread availability of broadband internet in households, university campuses and the countless number of internet cafes around major towns means that virtual communication, for those that can pay, is relatively accessible across the Somali regions. The widespread use of smartphones means that young people are continuously connected with their peers outside the country.
Research on Iraqi refugees in Jordan demonstrates how social media can motivate but also agitate people without meaningful prospects of durable solutions in countries of first asylum. It found that they actively follow a wide variety of transnational news-channels reporting on the ‘European refugee crisis’, whilst double-checking on social media what is ‘true’. Clips of friends who arrive on the shores of Greece are widely shared on Facebook. Among some it creates a determination to leave Jordan before they run out of money to travel illegally. Those who do not have the financial means or ability to leave express concerns of what the illegal travel of other refugees will mean in their case: why are people who go illegally ‘rewarded’ with leave to remain in Europe, while those who follow the ‘legal’ rules are being forgotten about. Pictures of people drowning in the Mediterranean Sea are also widely shared on Facebook, to emphasize the desperation of those who make the journey and as a plea for legal routes out of Jordan.
Governments have largely taken a deterrent-based approach to irregular migration and their approaches to ICTs and social media are no different. For example, the Government of Finland has launched a Facebook campaign called ‘Don’t Come’ focusing on youth in Turkey and Iraq