Researcher Views and Practices around Informing, Getting Consent, and Sharing Research Outputs with Social Media Users When Using Their Public Data

Researcher Views and Practices around Informing, Getting Consent, and Sharing Research Outputs with Social Media Users When Using Their Public Data
Nicholas Proferes, Shawn Walker
Proceedings of the 53rd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2020
Open Access
Abstract
Publicly accessible social media data is frequently used for scientific research. However, numerous questions remain regarding what ethical obligations researchers have in regard to using such content. We report on researchers’ own views and practices regarding informing, getting consent from, and sharing research outputs with users when using publicly accessible social media data. Findings reveal both diverging current practices and views on what researchers ought to do in the future. Some researchers view the ethics of public data use as merely requiring compliance with the requirements of their ethics board, while others’ ethical practices go beyond what is minimally required. Some researchers worry about the effects of contacting users to inform, seek consent, or share outputs with users. Yet others note that they want to build bridges with online communities through these mechanisms, but struggle with a lack of precedent and tools to do so at scale.

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