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From Barry Wellman:
We're excited about this special issue. Hope you are too, and will come play
with us -- Hazel Kwon, Wayne Xu, Barry Wellman
Social Platform Accountability in Global Perspectives:
Responsibility, Manipulation, and Control in Digital Social Spaces
K. Hazel Kwon (Arizona State University), [log in to unmask]
W. Wayne Xu (University of Massachusetts at Amherst),[log in to unmask]
Barry Wellman (NetLab Network),[log in to unmask]
The American Behavioral Scientist (ABS, Impact Factor: 1.79,
invites submissions for a special issue on “Social Platform Accountability
in Global Perspectives: Responsibility, Manipulation, and Control in
Digital Social Spaces.”
Democratic potentials of social technologies have been under threat in
recent years, along with an expanding spread of manipulative and extreme
digital activities. Examples of such activities vary from self-motivated
sharing of radicalized content to coordinated propagation of
disinformation. Many countries have been struggling with the rise of these
activities within their own sociopolitical contexts, attesting to the
globally shared awareness of the lack of accountability and transparency in
the current digital environment.
This special issue calls for conceptual and empirical understanding of social
platform accountability in global perspectives. This issue broadly defines
a social platform as digital social space where online users interact with
content and share their opinions or their own content with other users.
Examples of social platforms may include mainstream social network sites,
discussion forums like Reddit, online comment sections in news sites,
anonymous communities like 8chan, and sites hosted in dark web.
Conceptualizing social platform accountability requires understanding the
roles of various stakeholders (e.g., users, tech industry, activists,
government, policy makers, etc.) as well as multifaceted related issues
(e.g., user responsibility, content moderation mechanisms, political
economic motivations underlying digital manipulation, ethical tensions
between responsible control and censorship, etc.). Furthermore,
sociopolitical contexts where a society is situated may complicate the
process of rationalizing and normalizing discourses surrounding social
platform accountability within the society.
This special issue invites scholarship that examines causes and conditions
that compromise –or strengthen –the accountability of social platforms. The
special issue also seeks submissions from global scholars whose work may
promote comparative understanding of the topic. It welcomes various
methodological approaches (qualitative, quantitative, computational, etc.)
and theoretical perspectives (empirical, legal/ethical, historical, etc.).
Possible topics, but not limited to, may include:
1) a case study of media manipulation or extreme content sharing, which
addresses causes and conditions that deteriorate the accountability of
2) an international case study focusing on the national context that
influences the politics of social platform accountability;
3) a theoretical discussion and/or historical review of social platform
4) a systematic assessment of content moderation mechanisms (algorithmic
filtering, harnessing human labors, etc.) in digital social platforms;
5) a discussion of legal, ethical, and/or regulatory frameworks pertinent
with social platform accountability;
6) a discussion of roles and/or interrelationships of different
stakeholders (e.g., individual users, tech industry, government, civil
society, etc.) in making social platforms more accountable.
Submitted manuscripts must be in MS Word (.doc) format with a separate
title page that includes the title of the paper, full names, affiliations,
email addresses, telephone numbers, complete addresses, and biographical
sketches of all authors.Please send your submission via email to Hazel Kwon
([log in to unmask])
The main texts should remove any indicator of authorship, and thus be ready
for a blind, peer-reviewed process.
Manuscripts must adhere to the APA (6th ed.) style and should contain
between 5,000 and 7,000 words, including a 250-word abstract with 5-6 key
words, all references, and notes.
Manuscripts must contain original material that has not been previously
published elsewhere or is not currently under consideration by another
The manuscript should be submitted by December 1, 2019. The first round of
peer-reviews and decision will be sent out by March 1, 2020, and the
revision (if needed) and final decision will be made by August 1, 2020.
This special issue is expected to be published online in October/November
2020, with hard copy publication by the end of 2020.
Contact: If you have any question, please contact Hazel Kwon: [log in to unmask]
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