Social Media Ethics and COVID-19: Well-Being, Truth, Misinformation and Authenticity explores ways that some of the best and worst moments of the pandemic resulted from the interconnection of social media and ethics. The ethical challenges social media poses for corporate providers, government officials, and users existed well before the outbreak of COVID-19: What responsibility do corporate providers bear for inaccurate information posted by users? What responsibility do users bear? In this “post-truth” and polarized world, who defines “accurate information”? During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, public health agencies, emergency management agencies, and traditional news media used social media to disseminate or to track information, while users found communities for shared values or experiences. At the same time, users posted and amplified inaccurate or misleading scientific and health information, engaged in hate, and escalated conspiracy theories that have proven detrimental to the public health response to COVID-19. Edited by Pamela A. Zeiser and Berrin A. Beasley, this collection brings together work from leading scholars in communication, English, philosophy, and political science to examine the ethical use of social media during COVID-19, offering both a multidisciplinary understanding of the subject and tools for managing the challenges found at the intersection of social media, ethics, and COVID-19.
Berrin A. Beasley is professor in the School of Communication at the University of North Florida.
Pamela A. Zeiser is professor of political science at the University of North Florida.
Introduction by Berrin A. Beasley and Pamela A. Zeiser
Part I: Social Media, COVID-19, and Truth
Chapter 1: Attempting to Stop the Spread: Epistemic Responsibility and Platformed Responses to the COVID-19 “Infodemic” by Miles C. Coleman
Chapter 2: Hashtag Populism: Plandemics, Scamdemics, and Viral Resistance by Linda Howell
Chapter 3: Social Media, COVID-19, Misinformation, and Ethics: A Descriptive Study of American Adults' Perceptions by Tammy Swenson-Lepper and Heidi J. Hanson
Part II: Social Media, COVID-19, and Well-Being
Chapter 4: Exploring the Impact of COVID-19 on Leisure through Social Media by Annette M. Holba
Chapter 5: COVID-19 at the Nexus of Social Media and Propaganda: Public Health Messaging on Twitter Amidst Political Polarization by Berrin A. Beasley and Pamela A. Zeiser
Chapter 6: Divisiveness, Meaningful Lives, and the Hope of Compassion: Social Media in the Time of COVID-19 by Mitchell R. Haney
Social Media Ethics and COVID-19 explores how the recent pandemic changed our relationship with social media both for the better and for the worse. Bringing together scholars from social sciences and humanities, this volume addresses urgent and vexing issues to steer us through the rough waters of tribalism and misinformation towards healthy uses of social media for information and human connection.
This book alerts us to the potential consequences that may come with technology advancements if we do not take the accompanied ethical concerns seriously. Aside from the novelty of the topics, another appealing feature of this book to me is its accessibility. I went in worrying that many aspects of technologies covered in the book can be difficult to understand for a lay person like me with little knowledge about computer science or software engineering. However, as I start reading, I found the chapters did a great job explaining the digital infrastructures needed for understanding the ethical discussions. This book would be a great resource for media ethics educators who want to find the most cuttingedge case studies about the ethics of new media technology. The book may also inspire research on the application of the media technologies in journalism, public relations, advertising, and entertainment media, with some theoretical foundations laid out. I would also recommend it to anyone interested in the philosophy of technology and/or teaching a graduate seminar on the topic.