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Research with Social Media Data and Ethical Considerations

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Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd
Associate Professor
Ted Rogers School of Management
Ryerson University

Social media data is a rich source of behavioural data that can reveal how we connect and interact with each other online in real time and over time, and what that might mean for our society as we continue to speed towards an increasingly computer-mediated future. At the same time, as more and more Canadians are joining and contributing to various social media websites, their automatically recorded data are rapidly becoming available to third parties to mine for both commercial and academic purposes. As a result, questions around why and how data consumers’ use social media data are becoming pertinent. This talk will review different approaches to the automated collection and analysis of social media data and discuss some ethical implications of working with such data.

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Research with Social Media Data and Ethical Considerations

  1. 1. Research with Social Media Data and Ethical Consideration AnatoliyGruzd gruzd@ryerson.ca @gruzd Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management Director, Social Media Lab Ryerson University Halifax, Canada November 18, 2014
  2. 2. 3 source: http://consumer.media.seagate.com 1 PB = 1000 terabytes Defining Big Data (3Vs)
  3. 3. Defining Big Data •Large data sets •Structured & Unstructured •Live data •Machine-generated vsUser-generated Anatoliy Gruzd 4
  4. 4. Growth of Social Big Data from Online Social Networks Facebook 1B users Twitter 500M users Social Media sites have become an integral part of our daily lives!
  5. 5. Social Media Data Stewardship •Social Media Data Stewardship –processes related to all aspects of managing social media data including collection, storage, analysis, publishing, reuseand preservationof data •Today’s focus on Anatoliy Gruzd 6 COLLECTION ANALYSIS Ethical Consideration
  6. 6. Increasing Access to Social Big Data via API (Application Programmable Interface) Anatoliy Gruzd 7 source: http://www.programmableweb.com COLLECTION
  7. 7. Increasing Access to Social Big Data via Data Resellers Anatoliy Gruzd 8 COLLECTION
  8. 8. Example: Twitter data & metadata Anatoliy Gruzd 9 + COLLECTION
  9. 9. Example: Twitter data & metadata (2) Anatoliy Gruzd 10 Source: https://www.scribd.com/doc/30146338/map-of-a-tweet COLLECTION
  10. 10. Decision Making in domains such as Politics, Health Care and Education Data Social Big Making Sense of Social Big Data Anatoliy Gruzd 11 ANALYSIS
  11. 11. Making Sense of Social Big Data Anatoliy Gruzd 12 Social Big Data -> Visualizations -> Understanding (Development, Application & Validation) ANALYSIS
  12. 12. Making Sense of Social Big DataExample:Geo-based Analysis Anatoliy Gruzd 13 ANALYSIS
  13. 13. Making Sense of Social Big DataExample:Geo-based Analysis Anatoliy Gruzd ANALYSIS Source: https://blog.twitter.com/2013/the-geography-of-tweets Geography of Twitter Networks
  14. 14. Making Sense of Social Big DataExample:Geo-based AnalysisTracking Hate Speech on Twitter Anatoliy Gruzd 15 ANALYSIS Source: http://www.fenuxe.com/tag/geo-coded
  15. 15. Making Sense of Social Big DataExample:Content Analysis Anatoliy Gruzd 16 ANALYSIS Popular Topics over Time in Tweets that mentioned “Ukraine” (2014-02-18-2014-03-14)
  16. 16. Making Sense of Social Big DataExample:Network Analysis Anatoliy Gruzd 17 ANALYSIS Social Network Analysis (SNA) •Nodes = People •Edges /Ties (lines) = Relations/ “Who talks to whom”
  17. 17. •Reduce the large quantity of data into a more concise representation •Makes it much easier to understand what is going on in user-driven data Once the network is discovered, we can find out: •How do people interact with each other, •Who are the most/least active members of a group, •Who is influential in a group, •Who is susceptible to being influenced, etc… Advantages of Social Network Analysis Anatoliy Gruzd 18 ANALYSIS
  18. 18. Making Sense of Social Big DataExample: Network AnalysisSocial Media Use during the 2011 Canadian Federal Election ANALYSIS There are some pockets of political polarization on Twitter But Twitter has potential for supporting open cross- ideological discourse Liberal Conservative Spam Unknown & Undecided NDP Left Green Bloc Other Gruzd, A. and Roy, J (2014). Political Polarization on Social Media: Do Birds of a Feather Flock Together on Twitter? Policy & Internet.
  19. 19. Making Sense of Social Big DataExample: Network AnalysisCommunication of health-related information in blogs ANALYSIS Gruzd, A., Black, F.A., Le,Y., Amos, K. (2012). Investigating Biomedical Research Literature in the Blogosphere: A Case Study of Diabetes and HbA1c. Journal of the Medical Library Association 100(1): 34-42.
  20. 20. Making Sense of Social Big DataExample: Network AnalysisCommunication of health-related information in blogs ANALYSIS Gruzd, A., Black, F.A., Le,Y., Amos, K. (2012). Investigating Biomedical Research Literature in the Blogosphere: A Case Study of Diabetes and HbA1c. Journal of the Medical Library Association 100(1): 34-42.
  21. 21. Ethical Considerations when working with Big Data •2014 Facebook news feed experiment •Facebook Atlas ID -People-based marketing Anatoliy Gruzd 28 http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/10/7/facebook- atlas.html Ethical Consideration
  22. 22. Anatoliy Gruzd 29 http://venturebeat.com/2014/10/15/all-your-social-media- posts-are-now-in-the-public-domain- forever/?n_play=543f17f7e4b0d2b546d3373f Ethical Consideration
  23. 23. Kitchin’s (2007) Typology of Internet Research 30 Ethical Consideration
  24. 24. Human Subject Research •In Canada human subject research is governed by the Tri- Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS) •1stEd (2005) | 2ndEd. (2010) •http://pre.ethics.gc.ca/eng/policy-politique/tcps-eptc/readtcps-lireeptc 31 Ethical Consideration
  25. 25. TCPS on Internet Research (2) •Web-based research that uses exclusively publicly available information for which there is no presumption of privacy does not require REB review. (2ndEd, p.114) 33 Ethical Consideration
  26. 26. TCPS on Internet Research (3) •Research that is non-intrusive, does not require direct interaction between the researcher and individuals through the Internet medium, and that draws its data primarily from postings on websites is not required to obtain REB review. •Cyber-material such as documents, records, performances, on-line archival materials or published third-parties interviews to which the public is given access on the Internet or that clearly seeks public visibility might be considered as publicly available information. •Researchers may need to consider other factors when using this information, such as copyright, dissemination restrictions, privacy and intellectual rights. These, however, fall outside of the scope of the REB review. (2ndEd, p.114) 34 Ethical Consideration
  27. 27. TCPS on Internet Research (4) •Observational studies may be undertaken in public spaces or in virtual settings where individuals might have some limited expectation of privacy or in private or controlled spaces where individuals have an expectation of privacy. •The spectrum of settings where observational research typically requiring review may occur include, for example, classrooms, hospital emergency wards, private Internet chat rooms, or within members-only communities or organizations. (2ndEd, p.114) 35 Ethical Consideration
  28. 28. Social Media Data as Research Data? Views about researchers using social mediafell into three categories: 1) Scepticism: that ‘traditional’ research methods are more valid and reliable than online methods, 2) Acceptance: online research is beneficial as it removes bias caused by face-to-face research 3) Ambivalence: those who had no feelings, as they felt it would happen regardless of their opinion. Anatoliy Gruzd 36 Ethical Consideration (Beningeret.al., 2014)
  29. 29. Social Media Data as Research Data? Factors that influence users’ views of research using social media (Beningeret.al., 2014): a) mode and content of social media posts, b) social media website being used, c) the expectations the user had when posting, d) the nature/purposes of the research and researcher’s affiliation. Anatoliy Gruzd 37 Ethical Consideration
  30. 30. Research with Social Media Data and Ethical Consideration AnatoliyGruzd gruzd@ryerson.ca @gruzd Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management Director, Social Media Lab Ryerson University Halifax, Canada November 18, 2014

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