A social media campaign created by Rochester Institute of Technology students took top prize in a global challenge to counter terrorist propaganda online.
The RIT team was the only group from the United States to reach the finals of the P2P: Challenging Extremism competition, and became the first U.S. team to win first place, defeating this year’s other finalist teams from Versalius College in Brussels and Khazar University in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Judging this year’s competition were officials from the State Department, Facebook, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office and the National Counterterrorism Center.
Several US universities received honorable mentions, including University of California, Berkeley; University of Southern California; Miami University; Oxford; Ohio; New York University; and the University of Mississippi.
With an operating budget of $2,000, the team created a public relations and strategy agency, with a logo, website, social media, video platforms, and events to raise public awareness both on campus and in the community. They worked with the Muslim community in Rochester, N.Y., to develop the campaign.
The P2P: Fighting Extremism initiative is a U.S. government effort led by the State Department, Department of Education and Cultural Affairs, and is managed by EdVenture Partners and supported in part by Facebook.