CFP: The Political Morality of Social Media, MANCEPT Workshops 2022

Submission deadline: September 8, 2022

Conference date(s):
September 8, 2022 - September 9, 2022

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Conference Venue:

University of Manchester
Manchester, United Kingdom

Topic areas


MANCEPT Workshops 2022 (7th – 9th September 2022)


The Political Morality of Social Media


Workshop Dates: 8th and 9th September 2022

Deadline of Abstract Submission: 10th June 2022

Notification of Submission Outcome: 20th June 2022

Deadline of Bursary Application: 27th June 2022

Format: Hybrid

Convenor: William Chan (Manchester)

Invited Speakers: Jeffrey Howard (UCL), Massimo Renzo (KCL)

Social media, defined as ‘applications and websites that allow users to share content, usually of their own making’ (Rodriguez and Shelton, 2022), have become the major platform for citizens to acquire and share information today. Paradigmatic social media platforms include, for instance, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. While social media have made communication much easier than ever, people have raised considerable concerns over the tremendous influence of social media. Some worry that social media giants have too much power over what could or could not be seen on their platforms, whereas citizens rely heavily on social media to understand and evaluate social and political affairs (Moore and Tambini, 2018). Some worry that by using algorithms which feed users with tailored information, social media have become an important source of political polarisation and civic antagonism, since they tend to provide citizens with information that confirms rather than revises their already held political beliefs (Modgil et al., 2021). Some worry that social media have made the privacy of citizens vulnerable to the surveillance of technological giants and governments (Isaak and Hanna, 2018). Some worry that there is an unequal distribution of power among citizens over the information available on social media platforms, while powerful entities, to advance their economic or political interests, can use social media to shape citizens’ views and values (Moore and Tambini, 2018).

But what moral principles or considerations are at stake as we think about such worries? How should political actors and institutions respond to those worries? Focusing on these questions, this workshop brings together perspectives on the ethical challenges of social media, and how they should be addressed. It welcomes, for example, submissions on the following topics:

•             What norms should apply to citizens as they communicate with each other on social media?

•             What moral considerations are relevant when we consider how social media platforms and their users should be legally regulated?

•             How morally concerning is it for the state to nudge citizens to accept certain policies on social media platforms?

•             What are the implications of the effects of social media on citizens’ political behaviour and preferences for the moral goods that we typically associate with democracy (e.g. civic solidarity, political equality)?

•             How do social media interact with the moral legitimacy of political institutions?

•             To what extent should social media platforms retain the autonomy in filtering the information available on them, especially when citizens rely heavily on those platforms to acquire and spread information?

•             What does it take for social media platforms to (a) collect and use the data of users, and to (b) design content feeding algorithms in a morally responsible fashion?

Submissions addressing other moral and political issues in relation to social media will be considered.

Abstracts should be within 500 words and sent to William Chan ([email protected]) by 10th June 2022. All abstracts must be anonymised. Applicants should also fill in the following form:

Early career researchers, and those whose viewpoints, approaches or experience have been underrepresented by the field, are particularly welcomed to apply.


Registration for the conference opens in May. This year’s fees are

Online attendance

Academics: £45.00

PG: £20.00

Non-speaker: £15.00


Academics: £ 230.00

PG: £135.00

Dinner: £30

A small number of fee waiver bursaries will be offered. The deadline for bursary applications (available to current graduate students only) will be 27th June, and successful applicants will be informed by 11th July. Applications should be made to both William Chan ([email protected]) the organisers of MANCEPT Workshops ([email protected]). Only people accepted to present on a panel should apply for bursaries. In order to apply for a bursary please send us a few lines outlining your financial situation.


Isaak J. and Hanna M. J. (2018) User Data Privacy: Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and Privacy Protection. Computer 51(8): 56-59.

Modgil S., Singh R. K., Gupta S., et al. (2021) A Confirmation Bias View on Social Media Induced Polarisation During Covid-19. Information Systems Frontiers. DOI: 10.1007/s10796-021-10222-9.

Moore M. and Tambini D. (2018) Digital Dominance: The Power of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rodriguez M. and Shelton J. (2022) Social Media. Encyclopedia of Social Work. NASW Press and Oxford University Press.

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