CoverMedia Literacy Activities for Learning Civics ConceptsDefining Critical Media LiteracyChapter 1. Foundations of the United States Political SystemTopic 1: Democracy in Social Media Policies and Community StandardsTopic 2: The Internet as a Public UtilityTopic 3: 21st Century Women STEM InnovatorsTopic 4: Media Coverage of Kings, Queens, and Royal FamiliesTopic 5: Representations of Native Americans in Films, Local History Publications, and School MascotsChapter 2. The Development of United States GovernmentTopic 1: Declarations of Independence on Social MediaTopic 2: Media Marketing and Government Regulating of Self-Driving Cars and Electric VehiclesTopic 3: Representations of and Racism Toward Black Americans in the MediaTopic 4: Political Debates Through Songs from Hamilton: An American MusicalTopic 5: Bill of Rights on TwitterChapter 3. Institutions of United States GovernmentTopic 1: Hollywood Movies About the Branches of GovernmentTopic 2: Writing an Impeachment Press ReleaseTopic 3: Members of Congress' Use of Social MediaTopic 4: Political Impacts of Public Opinion PollsTopic 5: Website Design for New Political PartiesChapter 4. The Rights and Responsibilities of CitizensTopic 1: Immigration in the NewsTopic 2: Portrayals of Immigrants in Television and FilmTopic 3: COVID-19 Information EvaluationTopic 4: Women Political Leaders in the MediaTopic 5: Online Messaging by Special Interest GroupsTopic 6: Digital Games for Civic EngagementTopic 7: Social Media and the ElectionsTopic 8: Media Spin in the Coverage of Political DebatesTopic 9: Celebrities' Influence on PoliticsTopic 10: Political Activism Through Social MediaTopic 11: Media Recruitment of Public Sector WorkersTopic 12: Images of Teachers and TeachingTopic 13: For Whom Is and Could Your School Be NamedTopic 14: Representing Trans IdentitiesTopic 15: Media Framing of the Events of January 6, 2021Topic 16: Music as Protest ArtTopic 17: PACs, Super PACs, and Unions in the MediaChapter 5. The Constitution, Amendments, and Supreme Court DecisionsTopic 1: Prohibition in the MediaTopic 2: The Equal Rights Amendment on Twitter and Other Social MediaTopic 3: Civil War News Stories and Recruitment AdvertisementsTopic 4: Representations of Gender and Race on CurrencyTopic 5: The Equality Act on TwitterTopic 6: Reading Supreme Court Dissents AloudTopic 7: Television Cameras in CourtroomsChapter 6. The Structure of State and Local GovernmentTopic 1: Native American Mascots and LogosTopic 2: A Constitution for the InternetTopic 3: Military Recruitment and the MediaTopic 4: Your Privacy on Social MediaTopic 5: Pandemic Policy Information in the MediaTopic 6: Gendered Language in Media Coverage of Women in PoliticsTopic 7: Environmental Campaigns Using Social MediaTopic 8: Trusted Messengers, the Media, and the PandemicTopic 9: Online Campaigning for Political OfficeTopic 10: Advertising the Lottery Online and In PrintTopic 11: Local Governments, Social Media and Digital DemocracyTopic 12: Protecting the CommonsChapter 7. Freedom of the Press and News/Media LiteracyTopic 1: Press Freedom in the United States and the WorldTopic 2: Objectivity and Reporting the News from All SidesTopic 3: Investigative Journalism and Social ChangeTopic 4: News Photographs & Newspaper DesignTopic 5: How Reporters Report EventsTopic 6: Recommendation Algorithms on Social Media PlatformsTopic 7: Fake News Investigation and EvaluationTopic 8: Paywalls and Access to Online NewsTopic 9: Critical Visual Analysis of Online and Print MediaTopic 10: Memes and TikToks as Political Cartoons

Topic 1: 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

Designing for Learning: Student-Created Activity Example

Assessing, revising, and writing school social media policies by Eliza Kuppens, Ava Mullin, Abigail Ariagno. 

Activity 3: Writing Social Media Posts That Align with Democratic 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