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Encyclopedic tone of the section on interpersonal effects of social mediaEdit

I vetted the sources being cited in the subject section (Social media#Effects on interpersonal relationships). When comparing the content to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, I found one or more issues with nearly every sentence written (see my talk page for a line-by-line record of what I investigated). These were the problems I found:

  • Gross misrepresentation
    • Extrapolating, without evidence, observations of a narrow demographic (e.g. undergraduate college students in the US) to social media users in general
    • Presenting findings about Internet and email usage as findings about social media
    • Presenting evidence of correlation between two things as cause-and-effect
    • Summarizing the source's findings inaccurately
  • Improper citation
    • Mentioning a particular study but citing a news article that cites the study, not the study itself
    • Putting inappropriate, judgment-based words in the author's mouth (author wrote "more honest communication" and the Wikipedia editor wrote it as the "best" way to communicate)
  • Improper sources
    • Original research (i.e. primary sources)
    • Magazines
    • Opinion articles on news websites
    • Articles based on anecdotal evidence and not scientific study
    • Articles with a very narrow focus (when certainly there are more general studies out there that would prove the point)
  • Misplaced text
    • Considering whether social media addiction exists (not necessarily interpersonal in nature)

The extent of these issues is so deep that there is a not a quick fix to this. I am happy to work on this long term, but in the meantime it is better to have no information than bad. I propose to delete the second and third paragraphs of the section, as they had the more egregious violations of Wikipedia's policies. For the first paragraph, I think if I rewrite some sentences and delete one or two sentences that are clear violators of policy, then it should really clean up the un-encyclopedic tag. Romhilde (talk) 20:07, 22 July 2018 (UTC)

Major reorganizationEdit

With many major contributions over time, the article has become overwhelmingly long, and its structure is more like patchwork than something deliberately planned. When links to other relevant Wikipedia articles are missing as well, we run into issues like partial overlap, redundancy, and direct contradictions (contradictions being especially damaging to credibility).

I am hopeful that reorganizing the article and inserting the appropriate links to other Wikipedia articles will make it easier to spot and correct the issues I mentioned, so here is my proposed reorganization (thoughts and feedback are most welcome):

  1. History
  2. Definition and classification
  3. How social media works
    1. Viral content
    2. Automation
    3. Social authority
    4. Patents of social media technology
  4. Statistics on usage and membership
    1. Most popular social networks
    2. Social media usage
  5. Use of social media by organizations
    1. Use of social media by businesses
    2. Social media mining
    3. Social media in politics
    4. Use of social media during recruitment and hiring
    5. Commercialization
    6. Social media marketing
  6. Use of social media by individuals
    1. Use of social media as a news source
    2. Forming and maintaining interpersonal relationships
    3. Self-presentation
    4. Use of social media to improve health
    5. Content creation
    6. Use of social media in career preparation
  7. Effects of social media
    1. Disparity
    2. Ideological polarization
    3. Stereotyping
    4. Cognition and memory
    5. Physical and mental health
    6. Effects on youth communication
  8. Criticism, debate and controversy
    1. Trustworthiness and reliability
    2. Critique of social media activism
    3. Ownership of social media content
    4. Privacy
    5. Criticism of commercialization on social media
    6. Debate over addiction to social media
    7. Debate over using social media in academic settings
    8. Censorship

In more detail, the change would look like this:

Current Section Number & Name Proposed Section Number & Name
1 History 1 History
2 Definition and classification 2 Definition and classification
- 3 How social media works
2.1 Viral content 3.1 Viral content
2.2 Mobile users 2.1 Mobile social media
- 5 Use of social media by organizations
2.3 Business potential 5.1 Use of social media by businesses
2.3.1 Business performance 5.1.1 Performance benefits
3 Monitoring, tracking and analysis 5.1.2 Monitoring, tracking and analysis of consumers
4 Social media automation 3.2 Automation
4.1 Bots and social media marketing 3.2.1 Bots and their effect on analytics
4.2 Cyborgs 3.2.2 Human-assisted bots
5 Building "social authority" 3.3 Social authority (A portion should be merged with section on trustworthiness)
6 Data mining 5.2 Social media mining
6.1 Techniques Move to the separate social media mining Wikipedia article
7 Global usage 4 Statistics on usage and membership
7.1 Most popular services 4.1 Most popular social networks
- 6 Use of social media by individuals
7.2 Effects of usage for news purposes 6.1 Use of social media as a news source
7.3 Effects on individual and collective memory Split into 6.1.1 Effects on individual and collective memory and 5.3 Social media in politics
8 Criticisms 8 Criticism, Debate and Controversy
- 7 Effects of social media
8.1 Disparity 7.1 Disparity
8.2 Trustworthiness Split into 6.1 Use of social media as a news source and 8.1 Trustworthiness and reliability
8.3 Passive participation Split into 8.2 Critique of social media activism and 5.3 Social media in politics
8.4 Reliability Merge into 8.1 Trustworthiness and reliability
8.5 Ownership of social media content 8.3 Ownership of social media content
8.6 Privacy Split into 5.4 Use of social media during recruitment and hiring and 8.4 Privacy
8.7 Effects on interpersonal relationships 6.2 Forming and maintaining interpersonal relationships
8.8 Commercialization Split into 5.5 Commercialization and 8.5 Criticism of commercialization on social media
8.8.1 Launching new campaign through social media Delete - Magnum's social media campaign is receiving undue weight and attention
8.9 Selective exposure 7.2 Ideological polarization
9 Harmful effects Split into 7.3 Stereotyping, 6.3 Self-presentation, 6.2.1 Relationships with strangers, 7.4 Cognition and Memory, and 7.5 Physical and mental health
10 Impact on physical and mental health Merge into 7.5 Physical and mental health
10.1 Mood disturbances 7.5.1 Changes in mood
10.2 Facebook addiction disorder 8.6 Debate over addiction to social media
10.3 Weight-related issues 6.4 Use of social media to improve health
11 Beneficial effects Split into 6.5 Content creation and 4.2 Social media usage
12 Impact on job seeking Merge into 5.4 Use of social media during recruitment and hiring
13 College admission Merge into 5.4 Use of social media during recruitment and hiring
14 Political effects Merge into 5.3 Social media in politics
14.1 Beneficial versus harmful effects of Twitter 5.3.1 Role in social conflict
14.2 Use by militant groups 5.3.2 Use by militant groups
15 Patents 3.4 Patents of social media technology
16 In the classroom 8.7 Debate over using social media in academic settings
16.1 Wikipedia Delete - describes only 1 incident, and therefore has undue weight
16.2 Facebook and the classroom 8.7.1 Using Facebook in academic settings
16.3 Twitter 8.7.2 Using Twitter in academic settings
16.4 Impact of retweeting on Twitter Merge with 3.1 Viral content
16.5 YouTube 8.7.3 Using YouTube in academic settings
16.6 LinkedIn Delete the paragraph about what LinkedIn is and merge the rest into 6.6 Use of social media in career preparation
17 Social media marketing Summarize as 5.6 Social media marketing and link to the separate Wikipedia article
17.1 Use of social media personalities in advertising Merge into 5.6 Social media marketing
17.2 Tweets containing advertising Merge into 5.6 Social media marketing
18 Censorship incidents 8.8 Censorship
19 Effects on youth communication 7.6 Effects on youth communication

Romhilde (talk) 03:34, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

Merging 'social networking service' and 'social media'Edit

Looking into the articles social media and social networking service, they seem to a large extent to cover the same subject. (Look at their tables of contents: there really is quite much and essential overlap.) The phenomenon simply seems to have begotten two names: 'social networking service' seems a more neutral, scientific/technical name, 'social media' seems more of a 'plugging', promoting name, presumably pushed by the companies (Facebook etc.) themselves (with implicit suggestion: we are 'social', the old media (TV, newspapers etc) are not—do we, Wikipedia, need to further support that strong token 'social media' that the companies have invented for selfpromotion?)
Most importantly: if the two articles basically treat the same subject (from slightly different, but complementing(!) angles, now and then) they SHOULD be merged.
After that primal decision is taken, we can 'quarrel' further about the definitive title of the merged page (with ofcourse all alternative titles becoming a REDIRECT). --Corriebertus (talk) 13:53, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

I agree with the proposal to merge the two articles. I have also noticed that many scientific journals use the name social networking site or SNS, seemingly in place of the phrase social media. I agree that social networking site seems to be the preferred technical, neutral term for describing sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. One exception is Twitter: from what I have read, the preferred technical, neutral term for Twitter is microblogging platform or microblogging site (examples are here and here). And, at least this guy believes that Twitter specifically is not a social networking site. Similar things can be said about YouTube, Tumblr, Wikipedia, Snapchat, etc. So, if Facebook is a social networking site, Twitter and Tumblr are microblogging platforms, YouTube is an online video platform, Snapchat is a messaging app, and so on, it would seem that every social media platform already has a technical, neutral term to describe it. If this is the case, shouldn't we turn this article into a disambiguation page? Romhilde (talk) 07:54, 18 August 2018 (UTC)
I'm perhaps not that versed in all the technicalities you bring to the fore, here. Currently, Wikipedia calls Twitter a 'social networking service'; nevertheless, our Wikipedia article 'social media' already states in the lead section that Twitter is one "of the most popular social media websites" So, Twitter seems to be considered both: 'social media/medium' and 'social networking service'. Thus, this (important) example perhaps perfectly illustrates how interchangeable the two labels in many or most(!) cases seem to be.
And ofcourse, if some specialists want to call Twitter also a microblogging site (etc.), there's no impediment to write that in our Twitter lead section, too. The issue here is not, whether Twitter is this or that, or whether 'Snapchat is rather a messaging app than a social medium' (etc., etc.—which can be solved in those articles themselves).
My point and issue here is, that for 90% the two now existing Wikipedia articles (mentioned in heading of this section) seem clearly to bear on the same group of websites, and in that case simply OUGHT to be merged. Romhilde, you seem to contradict yourself—do you support the merging I propose, or do you prefer to make 'social media' a disambiguation page? --Corriebertus (talk) 14:26, 20 August 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for pointing that out and asking for clarification. The two Wikipedia articles significantly overlap, and for that reason alone a merger should be seriously considered. I think where I hesitate is not knowing at what step in a potential merge process we would address Wikipedia's own inconsistencies, and its inconsistencies with the sourced material. If the sources we are citing treat social media platforms and social networking sites as two separate topics, then we will benefit from presenting them as two topics as well. But, as it is now, Wikipedia is ambiguous about how social media and SNSs are different. I don't know the answers myself, but I am willing to dig into the sources to find out. Some parts of the social media article come from statements made specifically about social networking sites. It makes sense to merge that information into the SNS article. Since the SNS article is rated as a higher quality than the social media article, I think the SNS article should remain largely intact, with the best of the social media article inserted into it. So, I would support merging social media into SNS, while maintaining the quality of the article, and having social media redirect temporarily to social networking service. I say temporarily, because as we dig into the sources I think we will find it is justifiable to have two articles. But as you have pointed out, Wikipedia currently presents the two topics as nearly identical. Romhilde (talk) 05:49, 29 August 2018 (UTC)
In general, I agree to your ideas and reasoning as given here. I think we agree that merging the two articles is highly recommendable and logical (and I'm sorry but I personally won't have time in the near future to do it. Are there any volunteers?). If the SNS article is already rated higher (thus 'better'), the logical thing is to merge 'Social media' into 'Social networking service', as you say.
I think we need not worry about potential sources treating S.m. and SNS as two different things/topics. It is not likely that many sources will do so; and if a few sources do, they will probably not contradict our observation that at least 90% of all (so-called) S.m.'s are also called SNS and 90% of all (so-called) SNS are also called S.m.. Probably, the new merged article will contain a section explaining that a few sources prefer to distinguish between 'social media' and 'social networking service', etc..
If we come across inconsistencies of Wikipedia herself, the way to handle them is: first check if one of the presentations is clearly false; if none is clearly false, just say in the merged article that there are two contrasting views on this or that topic. --Corriebertus (talk) 21:16, 4 November 2018 (UTC)


  • Some proposed changes

Hi all, I recently wrote section 5.3.3. "Weaponization by state-sponsored groups". I added a citation to a scientific paper I had written, but as new editor had failed to disclose a conflict of interest.

Information to be added or removed: A citation for the sentence: "Social media platforms have been weaponized by state-sponsored cyber groups to attack governments in the United States, European Union, and Middle East."

Explanation of issue: The entire section comes from research, so I wish to add a reference to the top line. The research has been peer reviewed in the Journal of International Affairs.

References supporting change: — Preceding unsigned comment added by SoMeGuRu (talkcontribs) 00:47, 01 November 2018 (UTC)

Reply 31-OCT-2018Edit

   Edit request declined  

  1. It is unclear from your request where the references are to be placed. References are typically placed precisely where text appears which is referenced by the source, per WP:INTEGRITY. You have indicated that you wish one sentence to contain the reference, but you've also stated that "the entire section comes from research". Stated in this manner, it is unclear where the reference is to be placed.
  2. Edit requests should state verbatim how the text is to be shown in the affected section. This verbatim text should show your properly formatted reference placed at the desired locations.
  3. The citation you have provided is not formatted correctly. The citation style used by the Social media article is Citation Style 1. The reference you have provided is a URL link. Any reference added to the article needs to be placed in the citation style already used by the article, per WP:CITEVAR.
  4. It is unclear whether the community will accept the added text in this section, as it originated from your original research, which is generally not accepted in Wikipedia, per WP:NOR. If you were to provide research done by others covering this topic, it would strengthen your case for inclusion.
  5. All posts left on the talk page require you to add your signature. You may do so by placing 4 tildes ~~~~ at the end of your post.

Please open a new {{request edit}} template at your earliest convenience when ready to proceed with the requested information and corrections. Regards,  Spintendo  06:27, 1 November 2018 (UTC)

Some proposed changesEdit

Thank you for the reply @Spintendo, and again, apologies as I'm new to editing.

Information to be added or removed: I am advocating to include a scientific reference to section 6.3.3, as outlined below.

Social media platforms have been weaponized by state-sponsored cyber groups to attack governments in the United States, European Union, and Middle East.Bossetta, Michael. "The Weaponization of Social Media: Spear Phishing and Cyber Attacks on Democracy". Journal of International Affairs. 71 (1.5): 97–106. Retrieved 2018-09-03.

Explanation of issue: This is not an original research citation, but a scientific research citation, which has undergone peer-review for Columbia University's Journal of International Affairs. I am the author of the article, and wrote the section 6.3.3 that included 7 other scientific references supporting the introductory sentence that I apply to add a reference to.

References supporting change: The below URL is a reference to the print version of the article, although I have added the web version above as it is easier to access publicly.

SoMeGuRu (talk) 22:37, 3 November 2018 (UTC)SoMeGuru

"This is not an original research citation, but a scientific research citation, which has undergone peer-review for Columbia University's Journal of International Affairs." I appreciate your explanation, but I already know what a journal article is. My question asks this: Are you the only researcher who has covered the 'social media as viewed through the lenses of weaponry' type-angle for this topic? Specifically, are you the only researcher who has applied the term 'weaponry' to social media when comparing it to other classical tools of weaponry (i.e., guns, explosives, transportation, etc) or have other researchers also made this link? If you can point to other researchers who have made this link then please do so (because it validates your point and makes it easier to add the information to the article in question.) Those are the types of explanations you should bring to the table here, rather than "this is an article which is published in journals" because most of us are already past that simple identification part. Please advise, and thank you for your help.  Spintendo  00:06, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
The claim of weaponization as a separate purpose is one side of the coin, with the other side seeing it as part and parcel of all internet freedoms which may also be viewed as "a long game, to be conceived of and supported not as a separate agenda but merely as an important input to the more fundamental political freedoms."[1] For the purposes of this paragraph in the Social media Wikipedia article, is it fair to mention one side and not the other? Or is there a way we could mention both aspects which might offer a better viewpoint for this paragraph? Please advise your thoughts on this. Thank you!  Spintendo  00:55, 4 November 2018 (UTC)


  1. ^ Shirky, Clay (2011). "The Political Power of Social Media". Foreign Affairs. 90 (1): 19. ISSN 2327-7793.
Hi again, @Spintendo. Let me first say that I'm impressed by the community's awareness here, and again, let me re-emphasize my apologies if my formatting is not correct. It's quite difficult to follow and translate the code into practice when starting out.
To address your first point, and to paraphrase: "Am I the only researcher who has addressed social media from a weaponry perspective?" The short answer is no, and it's an interesting point. The "weaponization of social media" is currently a trending topic in academia that is currently widely interpretable, and many scholars are trying to claim a stake in defining it. See, for example, the recently published book "Likewar: The Weaponization of Social Media."[1] The book largely defines weaponization as information warfare (i.e. propaganda), whereas other recent reports of weaponization on social media have focused similarly on propaganda via targeted advertising.[2]
Both works do not consider social media as mechanical weaponry; rather, they refer to social media's information carrying potential as the primary interpretation of weaponization. Yet, the potential for social media, especially Twitter, to be used as a weapon has been clearly demonstrated by the Russians.[3] I detail several other such 'weaponry' examples (backed by media references) from China and Iran in my article, which is why I decided to include it.
Interestingly, the Shirky article you cite claims that social media is "difficult to weaponize for country-specific policy goals."[4] This was conventional wisdom when Shirky wrote the article, but recent cyberattacks by state-sponsored attacks via social media have proven otherwise (again, outlined in my article).
The reason I wrote this section (6.3.3), was to emphasize that social media has been and is being weaponized - not just by information, but also as a concrete weapon via cyberattacks - to enact country-specific policy goals. I included in section 6.3.3 several references that substantiate this claim; that social media is weaponized not just as information in line with propaganda and the manipulation of public opinion, but for the pinpointed aim of breaching networks and to impact critical infrastructure. Perhaps it wasn't clear, and I'd appreciate advice on how to proceed for improvement.
SoMeGuRu (talk) 05:33, 5 November 2018 (UTC)SoMeGuRu


  1. ^ Singer, P.W.; Brooking, Emerson (2018). LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-1-328-69574-1.
  2. ^ Nadler, Anthony; Crain, Matthew; Donovan, Joan (October 2018). Weaponizing the Digital Influence Machine: The Political Perils of Online Ad Tech (Report). Data&Society.
  3. ^ Frenkel, Sheera (2017-05-28). "Hackers Hide Cyberattacks in Social Media Posts". New York Times. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  4. ^ Shirky, Clay (2011). "The Political Power of Social Media". Foreign Affairs. 90 (1): 31. ISSN 2327-7793.

removal of tagsEdit

With regard to this , this and this edit - can you expalin here on the talk page what your intent is? Your edit summaries say "Added info to last two paragraphs of "effects on youth communication" and rearranged some paragraphs from this same section (from my sandbox User: Psaltele/sandbox" - but all you seem to have done is remove the various {{cn}} {{vague}} and {{who}} tags?

The only positive result was the removal of a <nowiki> tag that caused two words to flow into each other. Chaheel Riens (talk) 15:28, 3 December 2018 (UTC)

Political PolarizationEdit

Just wanted to write in the changes I made to the header "Ideological Polarization." Because the information which was already under “Ideological Polarization” referred more specifically to “Political Polarization,” and because my research was also related more specifically to political polarization, I changed the heading from “Ideological Polarization” to “Political Polarization.” I edited the information which was previously under the header to exclude information which was not related specifically to social media or political polarization, and to exclude “factual” statements which were not backed up by sources. I edited the information related to “selective exposure” and the Hayat and Samuel-Azran study to make it more succinct and relevant to the topic of political polarization. From there I added my own research which had not been referenced in the Wiki page, including the final four paragraphs and all references aside for the Hayat and Samuel Azran study.

References added include

Matsa, K. E., & Shearer, E. (2018). News Use Across Social Media Platforms. Retrieved November 25, 2018, from

Bail, C., Argyle, L., Brown, T., Bumpus, J., Chen, H., Fallin Hunzaker, M.B., Lee, J., Mann, M., Merhout, F., Volfovsky, A. (2018). Exposure to opposing views on social media can increase political polarization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115 (37) 9216-9221. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1804840115

Diehl, T., Weeks, B. E., & de Zúñiga, H. G. (2016). Political persuasion on social media: Tracing direct and indirect effects of news use and social interaction. New Media & Society, 18(9), 1875–1895.

Hardy, Molly & E Sorenson, Mary & Warner, Benjamin. (2016). Ferguson on Facebook: Political persuasion in a new era of media effects. Computers in Human Behavior. 57. 1-10. 10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.003.

Lee, J.K., Choi, J., Kim, C., Kim, Y. (2014). Social Media, Network Heterogeneity, and Opinion Polarization. Journal of Communication. Volume 64, Issue 4, Pages 702–722.

Mihailidis, P., Viotty, S., & Payne, J. (2017). Spreadable Spectacle in Digital Culture: Civic Expression, Fake News, and the Role of Media Literacies in “Post-Fact” Society. American Behavioral Scientist, 61(4), 441-454.

Masonbeck17 (talk) 19:39, 8 December 2018 (UTC)Masonbeck17

Suggestion for new page: Social Media AddictionEdit

My name is Dr Peter James Chisholm. I am a medical doctor in Melbourne Australia. I have attended the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance congress in Canada this year, and from this and my lived experience of social media addiction, I have a lot to contribute to this page.

I suggest 1. That we make a new page Social Media Addiction 2. That we aim for featured article status 3. That it is rapidly edited and protected 4. That it start with what I placed on my talk page or similar. I am working on getting many references now. 5. That we be as neutral as possible, as we are always, taking all points of view, but not neutrality for neutrality's sake - we don't need the opposing view if it has been throughly debunked. I do not want to enter into edit war with anyone.

Please note I started my concept What5words - which is a tactical business structure in Australia, New Zealand and Bulgaria in an attempt to address this crisis and protect myself from the large internet corporations. It appears I have done this with some success. I don't intend to make lots of money, just reinvest into this crisis as it worsens, and you can see this via my other writings on the internet.

Please let me know what you think. E.3 (talk) 05:19, 12 December 2018 (UTC)

@E.3: Wikipedia already has an article about social media addiction. Jarble (talk) 23:35, 8 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes I know I created it after all these discussions E.3 (talk) 00:28, 9 January 2019 (UTC)

Addition of an image for mental health effectsEdit

@GermanJoe Thanks for redirecting me to this page.

I'm trying to upload this image to this section. Please let me know your suggestions on the same. As I'm relatively new to professional editing on Wikipedia, multiple uploads led to an unintended edit war. I've tried to make the most recent upload textually neutral based on earlier feedback. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Avimanyu786 (talkcontribs) 12:31, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

@Avimanyu786:, please sign messages on talkpages and discussion forums with 4 tilde characters ~~~~ at the end to create an automatic signature with timestamp. Thank you. Regarding your question: such graphics, like any other content on Wikipedia, should be based on expert sources, for example a WP:MEDRS-compliant publication that covered this aspect. Aside from reliability of the depicted information, the image also simplifies the relationship between social media and mental processing that is likely far more complex. If you could find a freely licensed expert graph about this aspect, it could be included of course. But this particular self-made image isn't suitable for an encyclopedia in this particular context. GermanJoe (talk) 12:53, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback from your end. Avimanyu786 (talk) 13:08, 26 September 2019 (UTC)

Image for introEdit

I think it would be nice to have an image in the intro section of this article. Any suggestions? Sdkb (talk) 20:12, 6 November 2019 (UTC)

Return to "Social media" page.