Generation Brexit Study Guide: Social Media, Democracy and Brexit

This study guide  survey's the relationship between social media and democracy  in the context of Brexit. It is relevant for students taking  AS /A  LEVEL POLITICS, SOCIOLOGY AND MEDIA STUDIES.




Social Media, Democracy  & Brexit

Learning Outcomes

In this study guide, you will learn more about the relationship between SOCIAL MEDIA  & DEMOCRACY through an exploration of the role of social media in the BREXIT DEBATE.

  • How has the rise of social media and the internet more generally affected democracy?
  • What role did social media play in the 2016 Brexit Referendum?
  • How can we ensure social media supports  democracy, and does not undermine it?

The activities are intended to help you  deepen your understanding of these issues. They will also support the development of those critical thinking skills that you will be expected to demonstrate in your A / AS Level Exams, and at university. 

If you are a STUDENT you will find these  activities useful as part of your self guided study or exam preparation. 

If you are a TEACHER you may wish to incorporate these activities into your lesson plans either  as individual OR small group activities. 



Social Media, Democracy & Brexit Slideshow

Activity One

Activity One

In this task you are asked to examine the controversy about Cambridge Analytica and its role in the Brexit Referendum Campaign. You should be prepared to cite evidence from the resources in support of your views.

 First, you should EXPLORE THE RESOURCES on the CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA CONTROVERSY. These include short videos by the BBC (2017) and Channel 4 News (2018), a video recording of Christopher Wylie's whisteblower statement to the House of Commons (2018).  Then, you should READ THE BLOGS (POLITICO,  POLIS, LSE) on what might be done to prevent future scandals of this kind. You may also find it uself to refer back to the slides show on 'Social Media, Democracy and Brexit'.

  1. How did Cambridge Analytica use Facebook information to help the Leave Campaign in the Brexit Referendum?
  2. Do you agree with Christopher Wylie that Cambridge Analytica’s involvement in the Brexit Campaign was a form of cheating? Why or why not?
  3. What, if anything, should be done to prevent the political (mis)use of social media data in  democratic decision-making (elections, referendums, etc.)?


Activity Two

Activity Two

In this activity, you are asked to listen to the LSE PODCAST ‘Is the future of democracy on the web?’ You should then read the FACEBOOK NEWSROOM debate ‘Hard questions” social media and democracy’.

You should then try to identify reasons FOR and AGAINST the following proposition: Social media is bad for democracy.

You should aim to identify a series of POINT / EXAMPLE / EXPLANATION style arguments. You may find it helpful to refer back to the ‘Social Media, Politics and Brexit slide show as well as the other resources included in the study guide. After you have completed these notes, take some time to consider your own point of view. Which arguments do you find most convincing, and on what basis? Be prepared to fully explain your position citing relevant evidence.

If you are using this study guide as part of your independent learning or revision, you may want to conclude this activity by  writing a practice exam style essay on this question.

If you are a teacher using this study guide as part of a lesson plan, then you may wish to use this question as the basis for a class debate.


Activity Three

Activity Three

This activity invites you to engage in a debate with other young people on the Generation Brexit platform. First, you should WATCH the the LSE Podcast 'The Brexit Debate Through Social Media.' If you don't have time to listen to this debate, or would like a summary of the key points, you should read  the LSE Blog  ‘More positive, assertive and forward-looking: how Leave won Twitter’. Then you should go to the GENERATION BREXIT platform and find out what other young people are  SAYING in response to the following question. 


  • Did the UK public know what they were voting for? Where they given the chance to be appropriately informed?
  • Should the UK public vote directly on such big issues if companies like CAMBRIDGE ANALYLTICA can so easily manipulate public opinion?

 You should know the Generation Brexit challenge on 'ARE THE PEOPLE FIT TO RULE’ was offered to  LSE undergraduates as part of the  compulsory LSE 100 course 'Understanding the causes of things'. This activity is therefore a particularly good introduction to the discussion based learning that you will find at university.


Do you have an IDEA to share?

Generation Brexit has one purpose: it gives young people across the UK and the EU a voice in the Brexit negotiations. By taking part in this policy making project you can shape the future of UK-EU relations post-Brexit. The best ideas will be turned into policy proposals sent to the UK and EU parliaments. 

Generation Brexit is also offering an exciting opportunity for Sixth Form students to intern with an LSE crowdsourcing project as a PLATFORM FACILITATOR responsible for encouraging constructive engagement with Brexit related issues amongst platform users.

 Each PLATFORM FACILITATOR will be expected to spend half an hour on the platform each week for a period of four weeks, and earn 100 participation points on the platform. These participation points can be earned by voting or commenting on other people’s ideas, responding to surveys or posting your own ideas. PLATFORM FACILITATORS who fulfil these requirements will receive a certificate  from the LSE to highlight their contribution to the project.

 This is a great opportunity to participate in the Brexit debate and gain valuable experience that you can include in your UCAS personal statement. For more information contact

LSE Podcast: The Brexit Debate Through Social Media


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