1 Matching Annotations
- Feb 2020
Social media research ethics faces a contradiction between big data positivism and research ethics fundamentalism. Big data positivists tend to say, ‘Most social media data is public data. It is like data in a newspaper. I can therefore gather big data without limits. Those talking about privacy want to limit the progress of social science’. This position disregards any engagement with ethics and has a bias towards quantification. The ethical framework Social Media Research: A Guide to Ethics (Townsend and Wallace, 2016) that emerged from an ESRC-funded project tries to avoid both extremes and to take a critical-realist position: It recommends that social scientists neither ignore nor fetishize research ethics when studying digital media.Research ethics fundamentalists in contrast tend to say,You have to get informed consent for every piece of social media data you gather because we cannot assume automatic consent, users tend not to read platform’s privacy policies, they may assume some of their data is private and they may not agree to their data being used in research. Even if you anonymize the users you quote, many can still be identified in the networked online environment.