Project Category: Public Opinion

Social media companies are keenly focused on ridding their platforms of hateful speech and harassment. But content moderation can only capture a small fraction of it, and automatic filters can risk censoring ordinary users. Another approach is to counter these messages with opposing points. IPL researchers tested various kinds of counterspeech on Twitter, and they found that messages invoking empathy worked better than any other—they led authors of hate speech to discontinue their posts and even delete old ones.
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In the Middle East, countries that host large numbers of Syrian refugees now are taking active steps to encourage their return. Meanwhile, NGOs have started to consider steps to aid refugees in going home. Do refugees want to go back to Syria? And if so, when and how? IPL researchers surveyed Syrians in Lebanon to find out. The results can help inform the humanitarian and policy response to future refugee crises.
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Most of the world's refugees live in developing countries. Those countries are largely overlooked in the research on dynamics between refugees and the communities hosting them. IPL conducted a survey in Jordan, one of the top destinations for Syrian refugees. It found that most Jordanians have strong humanitarian concern for the refugees, even though they believe the refugee crisis has strained their economy and social services.
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Despite rising nationalism and anti-Muslim sentiment, most Europeans would prefer a humane and cooperative asylum system over the restrictive policies of the far right. IPL research reveals an untapped well of support for refugees and a strong mandate for reform.
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A wave of terrorist attacks has intensified European fears of homegrown Islamic extremism, and many now question whether Muslim immigrants can integrate into historically Christian countries. In a groundbreaking ethnographic study of France’s Muslim migrant population, the researchers conclude that both Muslim and non-Muslim French share responsibility for the slow progress of Muslim integration.
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