Hayley Lepps is a Researcher at NatCen Social Research
Earlier in the year I was invited to attend a two-day workshop hosted by the University of Aberdeen, as part of their ESRC‐funded project “Social Media, Privacy and Risk: Towards More Ethical Research Methodologies”.
The workshop was attended by some of the leading thinkers & practitioners in social media research, and based on our experiences and research (including my own work on NatCen's “Research using Social Media: Users’ Views” project), we aimed to develop a set of flexible guidelines for the ethical use of social media data in research, intended to be used by researchers, students, ethics committees, funding bodies, and anyone else with an interest in the ethics of working with social media data. Following the workshop, the outputs were then pulled together by the team at Aberdeen, and the draft guidelines were discussed at the AcSS/ NSMNSS conference on ethics and social media research.
I was very happy to see the guidelines published last week; I would very much recommend anyone interested in conducting ethical social media research gives them a read, and I hope they provide a useful contribution to ongoing debates and best practice in ethical social media research in the social sciences. You can find the final version of the guidelines here: www.dotrural.ac.uk/socialmediaresearchethics.pdf