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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

‘But the data is already public’: On the ethics of research in Facebook (Papers: Zimmer M 2010)0

Posted by Admin in on January 10, 2016
 

Abstract: In 2008, a group of researchers publicly released profile data collected from the Facebook accounts of an entire cohort of college students from a US university. While good-faith attempts were made to hide the identity of the institution and protect the privacy of the data subjects, the source of the data was quickly identified, placing the privacy of the students at risk. Using this incident as a case study, this paper articulates a set of ethical concerns that must be addressed before embarking on future research in social networking sites, including the nature of consent, properly identifying and respecting expectations of privacy on social network sites, strategies for data anonymization prior to public release, and the relative expertise of institutional review boards when confronted with research projects based on data gleaned from social media.”

Zimmer M (2010) ‘But the data is already public’: On the ethics of research in Facebook. Ethics and Information Technology 12(4): 313-325.
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10676-010-9227-5

(Additional reading list item from the updated Booklet 37 of the Griffith University Research Ethics Manual. Perpetual licences are available for use by all researchers within an institution. Institutions have used the GUREM as the basis for producing their own research ethics manual, as a professional development resource and a teaching and learning materials for HDR candidates.)b

‘Anonymity’ of the Facebook dataset – it’s Harvard College – Updated (Zimmer M 2008)0

Posted by Admin in on January 10, 2016
 

“As mentioned the other day, a group of researchers from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University released a dataset of Facebook profile information from an entire cohort (the class of 2009) of college students from “an anonymous, northeastern American university.”

(I’ve been engaging with Jason Kaufman, the PI for this research, on a variety of privacy and research ethics issues in this post and the comments section – please check it out.)

Well, I’m pretty sure this “anonymous, northeastern American university” is Harvard College. And I didn’t even have to download the dataset to figure it out. Here’s how.”

Zimmer M (2008) More on the ‘Anonymity’ of the Facebook dataset – it’s Harvard College (Updated). Available at: http://www.michaelzimmer.org/2008/10/03/more-on-the-anonymity-of-the-facebook-dataset-its-harvard-college/

(Additional reading list item from the updated Booklet 37 of the Griffith University Research Ethics Manual. Perpetual licences are available for use by all researchers within an institution. Institutions have used the GUREM as the basis for producing their own research ethics manual, as a professional development resource and a teaching and learning materials for HDR candidates.)b

Another Australian case reported on Retraction Watch0

Posted by Admin in on January 10, 2016
 

Another Australian retraction has been added to Retraction Watch.

09 January 2016 – Suspicions of data manipulation lead to correction of testicular cancer paper

About Retraction Watch
We launched Retraction Watch in August 2010, and although we didn’t predict this, it’s been a struggle to even keep up with retractions as they happen. While we occasionally dip into history in our “Best Of” series, realistically we don’t want to fall even further behind. If we ever have the resources to grow the site, this will be one of our priorities.

 

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks (Papers: Kramer A and Hancock J 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on January 10, 2016
 

Abstract: Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.

Kramer A D., Guillory, J E., & Hancock J T (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(24), 8788-8790.
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full

(Reference from the updated Booklet 37 of the Griffith University Research Ethics Manual. Perpetual licences are available for use by all researchers within an institution. Institutions have used the GUREM as the basis for producing their own research ethics manual, as a professional development resource and a teaching and learning materials for HDR candidates.)

Also see
1. (25/03/14) Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks
2. (01/04/14) Facebook fiasco: was Cornell’s study of ‘emotional contagion’ an ethics breach? 
3. (10/05/15) Social media personhood as a challenge to research ethics: Exploring the case of the Facebook experiment
4. (10/05/15) Untangling research and practice: What Facebook’s “emotional contagion” study teaches us
5. (20/05/16) Scientists are just as confused about the ethics of big-data research as you
6. (17/06/16) Are Research Ethics Obsolete In The Era Of Big Data?

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