Carnegie Mellon University

Social Media, Technology, and Conflict

Course Number: 84-690

This course will examine the role that social media and technology have had on conflict at multiple levels, both between and within nations. Interconnectedness has expanded dramatically and continues to expand, allowing the formerly disconnected—individuals with shared political views, states and diaspora populations—to be intimately connected. The Arab Spring uprisings were significantly influenced by the use of cell phones, social media, and text-messaging as organizing tools. Insurgent groups like the Islamic States harnessed the power of social media and emerging technologies, and now extremist groups in the US and Europe are using Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and other social media platforms to their advantage. Information war is a critical factor in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,  as both sides work to support/exploit kinetic warfare. Social media is used both to recruit for and fund violent extremism, while the internet has become a channel for radicalizing individuals into violent ideologies. Loss of trust in media and institutions, and the proliferation of mis/disinformation, conspiracy theories, and malign information operations over social media has introduced a new dimensions to conflict and relations between individuals, small groups, non-state actors, and nation-states.

Academic Year: 2023-2024
Semester(s): Spring
Units: 12
Location(s): Pittsburgh (remote-only instruction)

Learning Objectives

The goals for this course are to familiarize students with how emerging technologies, to include social media, is changing the nature of warfare and how both states and non-state actors fight.

Spring 2024
Tuesday and Thursday
12:30-1:50 PM

Counts towards the following CMIST degrees:
Master of Science in International Relations and Politics (International Security concentration)
Master of Information Technology Strategy (Politics and Strategy concentration)