The age of social media has spurred many benefits such as increased connectivity, the empowerment of social and grassroot political movements, and the democratization of public discourse. Yet as of today, social media is not so much perceived as a force of good. Instead, its negative consequences and challenges are at the forefront of public debates.
Reimagining how social media can work for everyone
The Reboot Social Media Lab reimagines social media by exploring and developing ways that can transform and redesign its functioning for users. The collaborative initiative unites stakeholders from academia, media, civil society, and the public and private sectors under one common goal: making social media platforms a better place for everyone.
Inclusivity & Social Media.
With the aim to open a safe and constructive dialogue on inclusivity in the realms of social media, our interest ranges from finding ways to help people with so-called intellectual disabilities (ID) better deal with online bullying and the flood of information, to increasing social media literacy and safe usage for people with ID and supporting parents of children with ID in the online realm.
Youth & Social Media.
Children and teenagers are “digital natives”, growing up during the development of social media. We want to address the question of how to educate children with the skills to navigate online in a safe way, as well as who is in the best position to create educational content.
Harmful Discourse & Content Moderation.
From considering the tradeoffs between the need for different forms of content moderation vis-à-vis freedom of speech as a fundamental norm, to how to (best) raise awareness among the public on ways to report hate speech and hateful content online, we aim at bringing different stakeholders together in order to push for healthier discourses online.
Misinformation & Disinformation.
Political disinformation campaigns, conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change misinformation have highlighted the importance of addressing issues of reliable information in the digital information environment. Here, particular importance is given to the role of social media as they offer a fertile ground for the proliferation of conspiracy theories and fake news at a larger scale when compared to traditional media.
Topics, activities & formats
The Reboot Social Media Lab encompasses a series of topics, activities and formats:
Research incubation & prototyping.
Individual teams conduct research that has a tangible impact on society. Topics covered include developing tools and frameworks to approach the issue of content moderation (Rebooting Content Moderation: REMODE); analyzing how people perceive harmful content online and what forms of content moderation they would like to see (Platforms for the People); designing mechanisms that help children navigate social media platforms (Connected Algorithmic Learning); increasing social media literacy among children regarding fake news (DEBAT&S); developing new tools for teaching social media (InstaClone); and co-designing solutions for more inclusive social media platforms (Inclusive Social Media).
To facilitate the transfer from research into practice – and vice versa – we bring together stakeholders from academia, media, civil society, and the public and private sectors. Our goal is to foster dialogue across sectors, create a space for ideating and experimenting, and work collaboratively on making social media platforms a better place for everyone.
Reimagining Social Media Series.
As part of the Reboot Social Media Lab, we regularly organize public events like panel discussions, fireside chats, and workshops. Here, we create cross-sectoral spaces by inviting academics working on various issues related to social media as well as practitioners from companies, media, civil society, or the public sector.
Partners & organization
The Reboot Social Media Lab at the TUM Think Tank brings together researchers from education, communication studies, political science, law, computational social sciences, as well as sports & health sciences from the Technical University of Munich and the Munich School of Politics and Public Policy. The interdisciplinary teams work on the most pressing issues surrounding social media.
The Reboot Social Media Lab is a collaborative initiative that unites stakeholders from academia, media, civil society, and the public and private sectors. The primary goal of this interdisciplinary effort is to generate forward-thinking, solution-oriented ideas, and to reimagine social media by exploring and developing ways that can transform its functioning and make it better for users.