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Title: When research is the context: Cross-platform user expectations for social media data reuse
Social media provides unique opportunities for researchers to learn about a variety of phenomena—it is often publicly available, highly accessible, and affords more naturalistic observation. However, as research using social media data has increased, so too has public scrutiny, highlighting the need to develop ethical approaches to social media data use. Prior work in this area has explored users’ perceptions of researchers’ use of social media data in the context of a single platform. In this paper, we expand on that work, exploring how platforms and their affordances impact how users feel about social media data reuse. We present results from three factorial vignette surveys, each focusing on a different platform—dating apps, Instagram, and Reddit—to assess users’ comfort with research data use scenarios across a variety of contexts. Although our results highlight different expectations between platforms depending on the research domain, purpose of research, and content collected, we find that the factor with the greatest impact across all platforms is consent—a finding which presents challenges for big data researchers. We conclude by offering a sociotechnical approach to ethical decision-making. This approach provides recommendations on how researchers can interpret and respond to platform norms and affordances to predict potential data use sensitivities. The approach also recommends that researchers respond to the predominant expectation of notification and consent for research participation by bolstering awareness of data collection on digital platforms.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1704369
NSF-PAR ID:
10463680
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Big Data & Society
Volume:
10
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2053-9517
Page Range / eLocation ID:
205395172311641
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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