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Current Issues

Start exploring resources for various current issues.

Introduction & Background

Social media is a blanket term for online services that encourage connection and sharing between users. Social media primarily relies on user-generated content to create interest in the site, and includes advertisements from companies that pay to have their content viewed by users. Modern social media emerged in the 2000s with sites such as MySpace and Facebook, but has since expanded to dozens of popular platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter (X), Snapchat, and Pinterest.     

With the widespread usage of social media sites user privacy is a concern, especially for users under the age of 18. Many states have passed laws to regulate who can access social media profiles, the selling of personal information by the platform, and protections against online harassment and cyberbullying. Social media has also had a large hand propagating in mis- and disinformation, conspiracy theories, and "fake news." This has had an impact on politics and elections, especially in the United States.    

While social media allows like-minded people to connect, this has also led to the growth of hate groups and radicalization driven by algorithms that favor outrage and edginess for engagement. Social media itself can be addictive, and it can further impact mental health with the carefully curated feeds displaying only the best or more cultivated moments from people's lives.

Finding Resources

  • Social media, online social networks
    • Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter/X, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram
  • Security, app permissions
  • Privacy
  • Influencers
  • Mental health
    • self-esteem
    • anxiety
    • loneliness
    • FOMO (fear of missing out)
    • connection
    • socialization
    • addiction
  • Infinite scrolling, doomscrolling
  • Physical health
  • Misinformation, disinformation, fake news, conspiracy theories
  • Bots
  • Selfies
  • Activism, movements, grassroots organization
  • Community, belonging, support
  • First Amendment
  • Advertising, targeted ad, marketing
  • Clickbait, ragebait
  • Algorithms
  • Harassment, cyberbullying, doxxing

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About This Page

This page was originally developed by Elaine Patton and Megan Hopwood.

First published: Nov. 2023