Ess, C. M. (2019). Internet Research Ethics and Social Media. In R. Iphofen (Ed.), Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76040-7_12-1
Internet research ethics (IRE) is introduced via a historical overview of its
development by the Association of Internet Researchers’ ethics committees
(2002, 2012, 2020) and the Norwegian Research Ethics Committees (2003,
2006,  2019). These overlapping but importantly distinctive guidelines
foreground key norms and principles (starting with human autonomy and dignity), ethical frameworks (utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, feminist
ethics, care ethics), and prevailing, especially question-oriented approaches to
identifying and resolving representative ethical challenges in internet research.
Comparing and contrasting these (and other relevant) guidelines further introduce
us to additional central elements of assumptions regarding personhood and moral
agency (individual vis-à-vis relational); respecting and incorporating diverse national/cultural ethical traditions and norms by way of an ethical pluralism; the
role of dialogical, process approaches and reflective ethical judgment (phronēsis);
interweaving ethics and methods; and considering ethical challenges characteristic of distinct stages of research. Two challenges evoked by Big Data research
techniques are examined, beginning with the possibilities and limitations of
informed consent and researchers’ possible use of “gray data” (personal information that is hacked and thus made public and available to researchers). Current
and future challenges cluster about protecting both researchers’ and subjects’
privacy – specifically, privacy as now reconceptualized in terms of contextual
integrity as appropriate to the more relational selves facilitated especially by
social media – in an emerging Internet of Things (IoT).
In dem vom BMBF geförderten Projekt FeKoM werden Empfehlungen für forschungsethisches Handeln in der Kommunikations- und Medienwissenschaft systematisch erarbeitet, empirisch fundiert und der Scientific Community zur Verfügung gestellt.