Results are in. We heard from more than 200 of you across every continent during our just completed global listening project. We wanted to get a better handle on the challenges facing campaigners today – particularly those of you working in the global South and East. What are your biggest opportunities for impact? What would help you scale campaigns? And how can MobLab better support you?
Here's the summary (and the full report). Teaser: you see mobile and social media as pivotal; many of you are campaigning in increasingly difficult and risky environments – and appreciate targeted support; you said you value our gatherings and convenings for their ability to add knowledge, deepen relationships and build power.
Where to now? Here at MobLab, we're shifting how we organize content, events, and other programs. And together with partners we're exploring other ways to take new ideas forward. Stay tuned.
Local organizing + global digital startup = A win in India. The 2001 closing of a mercury thermometer factory in Kodaikanal left behind toxic waste that's been harming residents ever since. Persistent efforts by local organisers failed to move global giant Unilever, the factory's owner, to act. Last year, locals campaigners partnered with Jhatkaa, an India-based digital startup. Read how the collaboration worked – it's a great example of how grassroots and digital campaigning wins together.
Social movements are engines of change. Omidyar Network and partners recently shared Engines of Change: What Civic Tech Can Learn from Social Movements. The report's methodology – measuring the strength of social movements – is interesting and should be helpful to civic technology and other sectors.
On dangerous ground. Global Witness reports that 2015 was the worst year on record for killings of environmental activists. Their new report documents 185 killings across 16 countries – the highest annual death toll on record and more than double the number of journalists killed in the same period.
Hacking activists. Explained. In an instructive warning on security risks, TechCrunch writer Kate Conger explains how Black Lives Matter activist Deray Mckesson's Twitter account was compromised despite having two-factor authentication set up.
The algorithms of fear. Our interactions are increasingly being optimized by opaque formulas and hidden data – but for whose benefit? Social media's focus on emotional engagement may not be helping. In an interview at Personal Democracy Forum 2016, Micah Sifry told Marcia Stepanak: "Bots that have the effect of accentuating our differences online might be good for the media business, but they’re not so great for democracy." Stepanek writes in Stanford Social Innovation Review about the work of Sifry, Wael Ghonim, danah boyd and others calling for a rethinking of how we interact online (and the algorithmic plumbing that makes it possible). For more, check out Kate Crawford's fascinating "Artificial Intelligence's White Guy Problem" in last Sunday's New York Times.