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Beninger, K. (2017). Social media users’ views on the ethics of social media research. In L. Sloan & A. Quan-Haase (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods (p. pp 57-73). SAGE Publications Ltd. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781473983847.n5


The nature of information captured on different social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram offer rich, naturally occurring data and present endless opportunities for research. In the rush to access this new, rich source of data, often what is missing from the conversation are the views of users. What do they understand about how their information is used and shared on the internet? What do users think about their information being used by researchers in online and social media research? This chapter explores the complex realm of online and social media research ethics through the lens of media users. It provides an overview of an exploratory qualitative study capturing user view of the ethics of social media research. The findings are presented in relation to participant´ view of research using social media in relation to core ethical principles of consent, anonymity and avoiding undue harm are discussed. The chapter concludes with considerations for researchers undertaking online and social media research, including practical suggestions for acknowledging ethical considerations in online research to consider where reasonable and appropriate.