This website aims to act as a forum for ethical discussion for anyone researching, reviewing, having an interest or developing policy in the area of research which uses social media data.

Anyone can post a comment/question about social media ethics on the forum. Comments/questions can be related to a specific research project, or more conceptual in nature. The question could ask if others are taking similar approaches to how your institution is handling ethics, or it could explain to others the approaches that are working for you. Please post a comment on the ‘forum page’.

In addition to this virtual forum, we also aim to hold 2 events over the course of the year (London / Lancaster) during which individuals will be able to bring their own case studies or discussion points to a wider debate.

Types of discussion points that could be posted

  • When is ethical approval required for different types of social media research?
  • Do I need consent, and if so when and what type?
  • How can I maintain the privacy of participants, and is this always required even without consent?
  • Are any social media sites / analyses more or less ethically problematic than others?
  • Who owns social media data?
  • Is social media data publicly available, and if so, how important is the concept of resignation when using this data (i.e., that social media users have resigned themselves to their data being used, even if they don’t really want it to be), and is this ethically problematic?
  • What are the legal restrictions on using social media data?

For who?

Researchers, lawyers, philosophers, social scientists, bioethicists, medics, health scientists, research ethics committee members, institutional staff who make policies related to social media research, journal Editors, funding body staff, Disciplinary Associations, individuals with an interest in social media research ethics.

How it works?

Once someone posts a comment/question, all registered users (2 minutes to register, and free) will receive an alert, letting them know if they would like to respond. If you are not registered you can still post a comment/question or reply to one, but you will not receive alerts when new comments/questions are posted.