Social Media Campaigns Against Violent Extremism: A New Approach to Evaluating Video Storytelling
In response to the threats posed by jihadist online propaganda, multiple countering violent extremism (CVE) campaigns were carried out with the goal of offering counter and alternative narratives able to contrast those of terrorist organizations. Although there is growing literature on the topic of how to build an effective CVE program, there is a lack of knowledge about how to evaluate a CVE online campaign. Drawing from recent research in the health domain and in the CVE field, I present a new evaluation approach that entails through a comparative analysis of multiple CVE campaigns and a qualitative inquiry focused on the case study #heartofdarkness (#hod). To achieve this, two combined methods were adopted: a revised version of the Message Sensation Value index used in antismoking campaigns analyses to measure the videos’ appeal, and a set of focus groups aimed at collecting feedback on the videos’ storytelling with a sample target of at-risk youths and expert stakeholders.