CoverIntroduction and Table of Media Literacy Activities for Key Civics ConceptsDefining Critical Media Literacy1. Foundations of the United States Political SystemDemocracy in Social Media Policies and Community StandardsThe Internet as a Public Utility21st Century Women STEM InnovatorsMedia Coverage of the RoyalsRepresentations of Native Americans in Film, Local History Publications, and School Mascots2. The Development of United States GovernmentDeclarations of Independence on Social MediaMarketing and Regulating Self-Driving CarsRepresentations of and Racism Toward Black Americans in the MediaPolitical Debates Through Songs from Hamilton: An American MusicalBill of Rights on Twitter3. Institutions of United States GovernmentHollywood Movies About the Branches of GovernmentWriting an Impeachment Press ReleaseMembers of Congress' Use of Social MediaPolitical Impacts of Public Opinion PollsWebsite Design for New Political Parties4. The Rights and Responsibilities of CitizensImmigration in the NewsPortrayals of Immigrants in Television and FilmCOVID-19 Information EvaluationWomen Political Leaders in the MediaOnline Messaging by Advocacy Organizations and Special Interest GroupsDigital Games for Civic EngagementSocial Media and the ElectionsMedia Spin in the Coverage of Political DebatesCelebrities' Influence on PoliticsPolitical Activism Through Social MediaMedia Recruitment of Public Sector WorkersImages of Teachers and TeachingRepresenting Trans IdentitiesMedia Framing of the Events of January 6, 2021Music as Protest ArtPACs, Super PACs, and Unions in the Media5. The Constitution, Amendments and Supreme Court DecisionsProhibition in the MediaThe Equal Rights Amendment on Twitter and Other Social MediaCivil War News Stories and Recruitment AdvertisementsRepresentations of Gender and Race on CurrencyThe Equality Act on TwitterReading Supreme Court Dissents AloudTelevision Cameras in Courtrooms6. The Structure of State and Local GovernmentNative American Mascots and LogosA Constitution for the InternetMilitary Recruitment and the MediaYour Privacy on Social MediaPandemic Policy Information in the MediaGendered Language in Media Coverage of Women in PoliticsEnvironmental Campaigns Using Social MediaTrusted Messengers, the Media, and the PandemicOnline Campaigning for Political OfficeAdvertising the Lottery Online and In PrintLocal Governments, Social Media and Digital Democracy7. Freedom of the Press and News/Media LiteracyPress Freedom in the United States and the WorldObjectivity and the News from All SidesInvestigative Journalism and Social ChangeNews Photographs & Newspaper DesignHow Reporters' Report EventsRecommendation Algorithms on Social Media PlatformsFake News Investigation and EvaluationCritical Visual Analysis of Online and Print MediaMemes and TikToks as Political Cartoons

Democracy in Social Media Policies and Community Standards

The foundational principles of Athenian democracy included equality, harmony, debate, and general education. In the following activities, you will apply these principles to evaluating how democratic are the community standards, online rules, and user policies found on today's social media platforms

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Activity 1: Evaluate Social Media Community Guidelines

  1. Review the seven features of Athenian democracy to familiarize yourself with the key concepts.
  2. Choose one of the following social media platforms: Youtube, Facebook, TikTok, or Twitter.
  3. Open up the community standards for your chosen platform.
    1. YoutubeCommunity Guidelines
    2. FacebookCommunity Standards
    3. TikTokCommunity Guidelines
    4. TwitterRules & Policies
      • Pro-tip: These guidelines tend to be long, so use the “find” function (CTRL + F on PC, CMD + F on Mac) to find specific words or phrases.
  4. In a video, podcast, or brief paper, answer the following questions related to how the community standards do or do not uphold the foundational features of democracy:
    1. Does the platform allow all users to post and comment equally, or does it ban certain types of content or actions from the platform? Do you agree with these bans?
    2. How does the platform encourage active dialogue and debate? Does this debate build harmony among users? (harmony means “accepting differences among people”)
    3. Does the platform support citizen wisdom and general education? 
    4. Are the guidelines easy to read or understand? If not, why do you think the standards are written in the way that they are? 
    5. From your own experience on the platform, how effective do you think these guidelines are in maintaining democratic principles and dialogue on the site?
  5. Bonus: Annotate the community standards using Hypothes.is to display your findings/thoughts. 

Activity 2: Assessing, Revising, and Writing School Social Media Policies

Activity 3: Writing Social Media Posts That Align with Democractic Values

Additional Resources 

Connecting to the Standards

  • Massachusetts Civics & Government Standards
    • Explain why the Founders of the United States considered the government of ancient Athens to be the beginning of democracy and explain how the democratic concepts developed in ancient Greece influenced modern democracy (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T1.1]
    • Explain the democratic political concepts developed in ancient Greece:  a) the "polis" or city state; b) civic participation and voting rights, c) legislative bodies, d) constitution writing, d) rule of law (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [7.T4.3]
  • ISTE Standards
    • Creative Communicator
      • 6b. Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
      • 6d. Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
  • DLCS Standards
    • Safety and Security (CAS.a)
    • Interpersonal and Societal Impact (CAS.c)
    • Collaboration and Communication (DTC.b)
    • Research (DTC.c)
  • English Language Arts > History/Social Studies Common Core Standards
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.4
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.5
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.2
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.4
  • English/Language Arts Common Core Standards