Social Media in Africa

A Double-Edged Sword for Security and Development: Research Brief

Published in: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Centre for Africa (November 2018)

by Kate Cox, William Marcellino, Jacopo Bellasio, Antonia Ward, Katerina Galai, Arya Sofia Meranto, Giacomo Persi Paoli

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) commissioned RAND Europe to explore social media use and its links to online radicalisation in Africa. The use of social media by three Islamist terrorist groups based in Africa — al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and ISIL — was analysed across seven countries: Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. To get to the heart of the issue, the study, conducted in late 2017 and early 2018, drew on three research methods: a structured literature review, key informant interviews and Twitter data analysis.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.