Thirty journalists, human rights and civil society activists, media academics, and social media influencers took part in a seminar in Tripoli aimed at countering hate speech and incitement to violence in war-torn Libya, the United Nations mission to the country said on Thursday.
"Hate speech, incitement, rumors, disinformation and fake news are just a few examples of the prevailing social media content in your country which have wreaked havoc with Libya’s already fragile social fabric," said Stephanie Williams, deputy head of UNSMIL.
"The longer this continues, the more difficult it will be for us to broker a lasting ceasefire," added Williams, who took part in the closing session of the two-day seminar.
UNSMIL hopes that stakeholders working together against hate speech, incitement, disinformation, and rumours will "restore the role of media as a catalyst to peace building in Libya," Williams stated
US social media giant Facebook also participated in a session of the seminar via video link and presentations included examples of hate speech and fake news extracts from local media and social media platforms in Libya, UNSMIL said.
Participants at the seminar were introduced to Facebook’s latest news feed and community standards, including shortcuts to reporting of inappropriate content that incites hatred and violence, and agreed on 16 recommendations to counter these scourges, UNSMIL added.
Similar events will be organised across Libya with the goal of forging a Code of Conduct for media, alongside ongoing diplomatic efforts to revive talks leading to a negotiated political settlement, according to UNSMIL.
UNSMIL’s Public Information and Communications Unit organised the social media seminar in Tripoli which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, the UN mission said.