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Social Media and Human Rights


mobiles filming cropped


How are human rights practices changing in the digital age? This pre-RightsCon workshop invites participants to examine how these practices - including witnessing, documenting, and advocating - are responding to digital technologies and how, in turn, we might understand and theorise these responses. Potential themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Implications for the production of human rights knowledge
  • Implications of the ‘post-truth’ era for human rights
  • Impact of the 'fake news' phenomenon on human rights/humanitarian monitoring
  • Intersections with risk
  • Shifting boundaries between experts and lay-people
  • Effects on voice, visibility, accountability, and impunity
  • Effects on those who do not have access to these tools
  • Effects on international, governmental and non-governmental institutions' existing practices
  • Involvement and responsibilities of new actors, particularly those from the corporate sector


Applications are invited from scholars and practitioners.

The workshop is co-organized by two ESRC-funded projects, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs and the Potential for Governmental Accountability at the University of Cambridge's Department of Sociology and Centre of Governance and Human Rights and The Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project at the University of Essex.


March 27th, 2017.  Participants should arrive in Cambridge in time for dinner on the 26th.  The timing allows for travel to Brussels for RightsCon, which starts on the 29th.


The University of Cambridge, Queens' College in Cambridge, UK.


Applicants should submit 300-word abstracts via this form by February 17th, 2017:

Successful applicants will be notified by February 21st, and full papers (1,500-8,000 words) for circulation to participants are due on March 13th.

Limited funding is available for participants' travel expenses.


Image: 'mobiles filming' by Osvaldo Gago via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

About this website

This is the website for Ella McPherson's work related to her 2014-17 ESRC-funded research project, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs, and the Potential for Governmental Accountability.