The ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine has become a new battleground of modern information warfare. The role of social media has been well documented during the Euromaidan in Ukraine, during the Crimean crisis, and in the separatist rebellion in Donbass. The current confrontation sparked a new wave of misinformation across social media, turning the context of Ukraine into a media battlefield. Due to the extensive scale of the current war, the sides of the conflict enacted a number of tools, including automated algorithms and human intervention, with the far-reaching goal to shape public opinion both domestically and internationally. In addition to the conventional propaganda, social media bots and trolls become the main actors of computational propaganda. Bots and trolls automate or misrepresent their identities to mimic the actual users to collect, disseminate, and communicate news and information, creating a false consensus or promoting discord. As the roles and functioning mechanisms of the information warfare in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis are still evolving, this special issue calls for contribution to understand the institutional infrastructure, the communication mechanisms, and the impacts of information warfare in the era of social media with a specific focus on the context of the Russian-Ukrainian War.
Topic of Research
In particular, this proposed special issue at the Communication and the Public, a Scopus-indexed journal, would like to invite authors to contribute to a nuanced understanding of information warfare from multi-disciplinary perspectives. Contributors are welcome to submit manuscripts on the following related topics:
· How is information warfare in the Russia-Ukraine War organized on social media? What are its participants, forms, strategies, and networks?
· How is computational propaganda (bots and trolls) mobilized in the Russia-Ukraine information warfare? How do the news and traditional propaganda institutions and participate in computational propaganda regarding the Russian-Ukraine war?
· How do bot messages (e.g., bot tweets) distinguish from human messages in terms of contents and communication? How does computational propaganda affect the news and public agenda? What are the impacts of bot messages on the international reactions to the war?
· What are the implications of information warfare and computational propaganda for information and platform governance?
The submission to this special issue will go through a fast-track review. And the qualified manuscripts will be published in CAP online first on a rolling process.
The specific timeline is:
- Extended abstracts: June 30, 2022
Potential contributors are expected to submit an extended abstract (no more than 800 words) no later than June 30, 2022. The abstract should include the primary literature, data, analytical methods, and preliminary conclusions, if applicable.
Contributors should email the extended abstract to the journal’s official email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to the guest editors’ emails (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org). Please also include the contributors’ biographic information and the corresponding authors’ contact information.
- Full draft invitations and rejection notifications: within two weeks
The guest editors and the CAP editors will assess the extended abstracts. The authors will be informed of comments or suggestions within two weeks, including the acceptance or rejection.
- Complete paper submission: August 31, 2022
The full publication is expected not later than August 31, 2022. The complete paper should be submitted via CAP’s online submission system. For detail submission guideline, please click here. Please indicate the submission is for this special issue.
Please be aware that the acceptance of abstracts doesn’t guarantee paper acceptance. All submissions will go through a thorough double-blind review process.
- Special Issue Publication: online version starts since November 1, 2022
The special issue will publish the accepted manuscripts online first starting from November 1, 2022.