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Cambridge Analytica case should spur action on research ethics

Image: Martin Grandjean [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

With research methods developing more quickly than policy, it’s time for a concerted effort to regulate how academics use data from social media, say Gabrielle Samuel and Gemma Derrick.

Social media looks attractive to researchers. They are seduced by the prospect of what big data can tell them about how social interactions shape personalities and ideology; and by platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, that can collect the data on their behalf.

The research tools, however, have developed faster than policies designed to protect research participants.

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