Fake news, data mining and online harassment have become part of our everyday lives. Not surprisingly, concerns are growing that what was once hailed for giving everyone a voice and bringing us together is now spreading misinformation, invading our privacy and dividing us more than ever.
Currently, the rules around digital civility and consequences for misbehavior are unclear. Some members of the U-M community may also be participating in conversations and behavior across social media that could be more damaging to others than they intend.
Social Integrity’s mission is to create a more productive online space and empower social media users to use the tool for the betterment of society. It hopes to meet these goals by increasing overall awareness of online harassment, educating social media users on how to protect themselves from being victimized, defining and inspiring civil online behavior and encouraging the use of online resources for support. This campaign will also highlight U-M research related to social media use and the work of the new School of Information Center for Social Media Responsibility.
Part of the Office of the Vice President for Communications, UM Social oversees the strategic direction and development of all university-wide social accounts, as well as college, school and program presences. UM Social also maintains the official accounts inventory, provides consultation services and training and offers best practices. The office is focused on encouraging collaboration and promoting a unified campus message. Its staff members also oversee the daily content management of central social platforms and disseminate messaging that promotes university-related initiatives.
Center for Social Media Responsibility
To address growing concerns about online privacy, misinformation and harassment, the University of Michigan is bringing together some of the brightest minds to brainstorm creative solutions. The School of Information Center for Social Media Responsibility has been created to develop tools, and to use and make U-M research usable to media makers, media consumers and platform companies.
The center is focused on producing designs, systems and metrics that help steer social media use toward more civil and beneficial discourse. It will also feature working groups that monitor progress, articulate principles and create metrics and tools that empower technologists to find ways to influence responsibility on the part of those who own social media organizations, and increase social media user savvy.
The center’s executive director, Garlin Gilchrist II, has extensive experience as a technology innovator and nonprofit and political organizer. He recently served as director of innovation and emerging technology for the city of Detroit and was one of former President Barack Obama’s social media managers.
Online harassment and content moderation: The case of blocklists: A study in preventing online harassment by using blocklists, a list of accounts that are preemptively blocked from interacting with a subscriber.
Forecasting the presence and intensity of hostility on Instagram using linguistic and social features: A method for forecasting exchanges likely to turn hostile or for hostility to escalate on Instagram.
Pseudonymous parents: Comparing parenting roles and identities on the Mommit and Daddit Subreddit: This study examines the differences and similarities in information shared by male and female parents on parenting websites.