Symposium 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Best Practices For Ethical Social Media Research (#98)

Anneke Buffone 1 , Salvatore Giorgi 1
  1. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States

Social media data can be a treasure trove for positive psychologists, offering rich behavioral, cognitive and emotional datasets. I will describe the advantages of this research and review best practices and different research designs. First, I will briefly review some of the important insights on empathy, trust, social connection, and their link to health and well-being that we have been able to gather using such data. Next, I will provide insights into how data is collected (e.g., recruitment, consent), what research designs are possible, and how to ensure engagement such as by providing personalized insights back to participants. However, a discussion of best practices wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the great ethical responsibility that comes with working with such data. This is especially true because platforms and modeling capabilities continue to change at a fast pace while regulating this research remains novel for institutional review boards. Drawing from insights from IRB members, experts on ethics, and our own practical experiences, I propose best practices for ethical consent, data collection, and storage procedures, and provide suggestions for how to still contribute to “open data”.