Social Media

Navigating a media ecosystem awash with misinformation and manipulation is one of the biggest challenges facing policymakers, organizations and individuals in the 21st century. Anyone with access to social media has the opportunity to influence a global audience, and with the access to the right tools and technology, the potential to expand human knowledge, or to do profound harm. Traditionally, journalism ethics has referred to the set of ethical practices adopted by responsible professional journalists, but the birth of social media has erased the gap between journalism and its audiences. It is crucial that we reach a common understanding of what constitutes ethical behavior for all participants in the social media and digital contexts.

Social Media and Digital Communication at IU

Faculty at Indiana University's interdisciplinary Observatory on Social Media, including co-conveners Menczer and Monaghan, are focused on developing tools to study the viral spread of misinformation, bringing together experts in the worlds of data science and journalism. The journalism program now housed at The Media School at IU-Bloomington has a long history of teaching journalism ethics, including ethics in the digital context. Set to launch in Fall 2021, a new data journalism program taught jointly by Observatory faculty will bring fresh curricular insights on ethics in the digital space, from both a data science and a storytelling perspective.

Keywords: aggregation, deep fakes, democracy, fact-checking, false narratives, first informer, fragmentation, hate speech, impersonation, journalism ethics, misinformation, moderation, online manipulation, privacy, professionalism, social bots, social media, transparency, trolls, verification

Convener(s): Elaine Monaghan, Filippo Menczer