Paper submissions are invited for the special issue/collection of Topoi on The Social Epistemology of Social Media This Special issue/Collection will bring higher citations and visibility to your paper rather than regular papers and attract more relevant readership due to its scope. Topoi is indexed in the Web of Science, currently with a 2022 IF of 1,4 and CiteScore of 2,8 and its editorial team is led by the Editor in Chief Prof. Fabio Paglieri and Associate Editor Prof. Marcin Lewinski.

Guest Editors:

Glenn Anderau (University of Zürich) (lead editor)

Axel Gelfert (TU Berlin)

Boaz Miller (Zefat Academic College, University of Johannesburg)

Isaac Record (Michigan State University)


The development of the Internet and social media has had a major impact on the exchange of knowledge and our epistemic environment. While social media has made knowledge more accessible and allows for the bypassing of hegemonic gatekeepers, not all marginalized voices have profited from this to an equal extent. In addition, these socio-technical systems have facilitated the spread of epistemically harmful content and created online ecosystems in which harmful content thrives. 

Because of its relative novelty, the epistemic dimensions of social media have not yet been sufficiently studied. There is a lack of integrative frameworks which can allow for the theoretical and empirical study of the epistemic dimensions of social media. This special issue aims to rectify this by mapping out a social epistemology of social media that does justice to the twin desiderata of providing a unifying framework while acknowledging the diversity of concerns and practices.

Apart from descriptive questions, this special issue is interested in answering normative questions regarding social media and the normativity of knowledge-oriented practices. A guiding idea is that we – as users, stakeholders and citizens, through individual and collective action – can aim to turn social media platforms into better epistemic environments which facilitate the spread of knowledge while safeguarding against the spread of epistemically toxic content.

This special issue thus aims to bring internet scholarship into conversation with social epistemology. These two overlapping fields have much in common. Both are relatively young fields that study online putative knowledge-producing practices and dynamics. Both emphasize the mutual interactions of people and technology, and both are interested in real-life, non-ideal conditions. While Internet scholars have focused on empirical research methods (Altay et al. 2022; Marres 2017; Rogers 2019; Venturini and Munk 2021), social epistemologists have focused on theory and normative assessment (Frost-Arnold 2023; Miller and Record 2017; 2013; Simon 2014). Social epistemologists have also dealt with defining fake news (Gelfert 2018, Anderau 2021) and identifying the conditions under which fake news and other toxic epistemic content spread online, paying special attention to the interplay between technological affordance (Record 2013) and social-epistemic norms of posting and sharing (Arielli 2018; Gelfert 2021; Marin 2021; Nguyen 2020; Record and Miller 2022a). 

Thus, in addition to social epistemologists, this special issue invites contributions from empirical researchers from cognitive sciences, media studies, and STS who share the main commitments and interests of social epistemology.

Questions of interest for the special issue include, but are by no means limited to:

●       How may social media platforms contribute to epistemic justice? (Frost-Arnold 2023; Knöchelmann 2021; Miller and Record 2017) 

●       Which strategies, e.g., fact-checking, nudging, and content moderation, are most effective at mitigating the dissemination of epistemically toxic content online? (Record and Miller 2022b)

●       What are the limitations and risks of such strategies?

●       How can we avoid the risk of public debate reverting to positivistic notions of facts? What, for example, might ‘fact-checking’ mean in a world where ‘we can’t have our facts back’? (Marres 2018)

●       How do social media platforms afford novel speech acts, such as liking or sharing, how are they to be characterized, and what are their implications to the online dissemination of content? (Arielli 2018; Marsili 2021; Marin 2021; Record and Miller 2022a)

DEADLINE: Please submit your paper by 15th March 2024. Should you not be able to meet this deadline, please contact the Lead Guest Editor (contact details below).

SUBMISSION: Please use the journal’s Online Manuscript Submission System (Editorial Manager), accessible here Editorial Manager® ( ). Do note that paper submissions via email are not accepted.

Author Submission’s GUIDELINES: Authors are asked to prepare their manuscripts according to the journal’s standard Submission Guidelines.

When uploading your paper in Editorial Manager, please select “SI: Social Epistemology of Social Media (Anderau et al)” in the drop-down menu “Article Type”.

EDITORIAL PROCESS: All papers will undergo the journal’s standard review procedure (double-blind peer-review), according to the journal’s Peer Review Policy, Process and Guidance and reviewers will be selected according to the Peer Reviewer Selection policies.

Once papers are accepted, they will be made available as Online first articles publications until final publication into an issue and available on the page Collections.

CONTACT: For any questions, please directly contact the Lead Guest Editor: Glenn Anderau (University of Zürich)



Altay, S., Hacquin, A. S., & Mercier, H. (2022). Why do so few people share fake news? It hurts their reputation. New Media & Society24(6), 1303-1324.

Anderau, G. (2021). Defining fake news. Kriterion35(3), 197-215.

Arielli, E. (2018). Sharing as speech act. Versus47(2), 243-258.

Frost-Arnold, K. (2023). Who Should We Be Online?: A Social Epistemology for the Internet. Oxford University Press.

Gelfert, A. (2018). Fake news: a definition. Informal Logic, 38(1), 84-117.

Gelfert, A. (2021). Fake news, false beliefs, and the fallible art of knowledge maintenance. In The epistemology of fake news, eds. S. Bernecker et al. (pp. 310-333). Oxford University Press.

Knöchelmann, M. (2021). The democratisation myth: Open Access and the solidification of epistemic injustices. Science & Technology Studies34(2), 65-89.

Marin, L. (2021). Sharing (mis) information on social networking sites: An exploration of the norms for distributing content authored by others. Ethics and Information Technology23(3), 363-372.

Marres, N. (2015). Why map issues? On controversy analysis as a digital method. Science, Technology, & Human Values40(5), 655-686.

Marres, N. (2017). Digital sociology: The reinvention of social research. John Wiley & Sons.

Marres, N. (2018). Why we can't have our facts back. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 4, 1-21.

Marsili, N. (2021). Retweeting: its linguistic and epistemic value. Synthese198(11), 10457-10483.

Miller, B., & Record, I. (2013). Justified belief in a digital age: On the epistemic implications of secret Internet technologies. Episteme10(2), 117-134.

Miller, B., & Record, I. (2017). Responsible epistemic technologies: A social-epistemological analysis of autocompleted web search. New Media & Society19(12), 1945-1963.

Nguyen, C. T. (2020). Echo chambers and epistemic bubbles. Episteme17(2), 141-161.

Record, I. (2013). Technology and epistemic possibility. Journal for General Philosophy of Science44, 319-336.

Record, I., & Miller, B. (2022a). People, posts, and platforms: reducing the spread of online toxicity by contextualizing content and setting norms. Asian Journal of Philosophy1(2), 41.

Record, I., & Miller, B. (2022b). Wrong on the Internet: Why some common prescriptions for addressing the spread of misinformation online don’t work. Communique, 105, 22-27.

Rogers, R. (2019). Doing digital methods. Sage.

Simon, J. (2014). Distributed epistemic responsibility in a hyperconnected era. In The Onlife Manifesto: Being human in a hyperconnected era, ed. L. Floridi (pp. 145-159). Springer.

Venturini, T., & Munk, A. K. (2021). Controversy mapping: A field guide. John Wiley & Sons.

Published: 10/11/2023