Amsterdam to use online tools in fight against radicalization

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Amsterdam is taking on the internet in the fight against radicalization, the municipality announced on Wednesday. The municipality plans to use multiple online tools in this fight. Starting with using social media to try to find and contain radicalizing posts, Het Parool reports.

According to the municipality, social media plays an increasingly important role in polarization and radicalization. "With this approach we as municipality want to better respond to this development", a spokesperson said to the newspaper. 

The city wants to develop an online dashboard to filter and monitor the vast amount of information on social media. And to encourage young people to critically think about what they read on social media platforms, specifically regarding extremist messages. Amsterdam wants to deploy a number of vloggers to post moderate messages online. The municipality is investigating the possibility of an online help desk for young people struggling with radicalization.

The municipality is also launching a special application this spring on which officials, professionals and key figures in the Muslim world can exchange information more easily. A special team was established with knowledge of polarization, extremism and radicalization and this team will be active online. Professionals will be trained to recognize radicalization online. And "ambassadors" are being trained to flag unwanted messages on the internet. 

Amsterdam has been fighting radicalization and polarization in various ways for over 12 years. But this is the first time that the city is taking the fight online.