The SOMEONE (SOcial Media EducatiON Every day) initiative was launched in April 2016. It has been funded under Public Safety Canada’s Kanishka (2014-2016) and Community Resilience Fund (2017-2019) programs, as well as Global Affairs Canada’s Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program (2018-2019). It consists of a web-based portal of multimedia materials aimed at preventing hate speech and building resilience towards radicalization that leads to violent extremism.
The materials target youth, school and community members, public policy officials, as well as the broader public by focusing on the development of critical thinking and information literacy skills, and encouraging democratic dialogues in online and offline spaces.
Through seventeen (17) distinct projects — all led by practicing researchers —, the initiative has seen the rigorous development and evaluation of curricular activities for elementary, secondary and post-secondary institutions. Such activities include first-person narrative documentaries, textual and multimedia social media feeds, visual art-based public pedagogical materials, graphic novels, public panel discussions, lectures and workshops, academic articles and conference papers, and descriptions and workshops on novel research methodologies.
Our work is framed in principles of social pedagogy which encourages the inclusive adoption of mobile and digital media by members of the public to create alternative narratives to the divisive and violent messages propagated by hate groups. With the rise of hate speech both online and offline, it becomes increasingly urgent to ensure that social, public and curricular policies related to public safety, education and the common good are guided by empirical and theory-driven research such as that conducted by the Project SOMEONE’s team and its growing network of partners.