Call for Papers: Special Issue on the Effects of Social Media on Real-World Events
IEEE Internet Computing seeks submissions for this upcoming special issue.

Social media has quickly become not just ubiquitous, but also integral to modern society. A large portion of social media’s quick ascent was due to its modeling of real-world relationships, meaning the offline world informed the development and adoption of the online world. Recently, however, it has become apparent that this effect is not a one-way street. For example, the spread of mis- and dis-information, the spread of conspiracy theories, and the rise of extremism can all be attributed, in part, to social media.

Most previous research has studied the real world and social media in isolation. However, these worlds are interconnected via complex and diverse channels, hence each world can have a substantial impact and influence on the other. For instance, hateful rhetoric and ideology disseminated via public social media posts can encourage physical meetings that can quickly transform rhetoric into violent actions.

In this special issue, we focus on the emerging effects that social media can have on the real world. Research that explores the exogenic effects of social media from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives is particularly welcome. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The effects of social media-driven mis- and dis-information with respect to real-world actions
  • The role of social media in pro-social, real-world movements (for example, Black Lives Matter)
  • Hate speech and harassment
  • The transition from online to real-world extremism
  • Methods to mitigate real-world harm
  • Online radicalization and real-world outcomes
  • Online user behavior during important crises in the real world
  • Behavioral biases on social media and in the real world
  • Activity on gaming-related platforms and real-world effects
  • Online moderation and real-world effects

Important Dates

Paper submissions due: 30 September 2021
First-round review due: 22 November 2021
Revision due: 23 December 2021
Final decision notification: 31 January 2022
Camera-ready submission due: 10 February 2022
Publication: March/April 2022

Submission Guidelines

All submissions must be original manuscripts of fewer than 5,000 words. All manuscripts are subject to peer review on both technical merit and relevance to IEEE Internet Computing’s international readership–primarily practicing engineers and academics who are looking for material that introduces new technology and broadens familiarity with current topics. We do not accept white papers, and papers that are primarily theoretical or mathematical must clearly relate the mathematical content to a real-life or engineering application. Please read the author instructions. To submit a manuscript, create or access an account on  ScholarOne.

Guest Editors

Contact the guest editors at

  • Jeremy Blackburn, Binghamton University, USA
  • Savvas Zannettou, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Germany
Special Issue on the Effects of Social Media on Real-World Events
30 September 2021