[Air-L] research ethics again - students and FB

Liz Crocker lcrocker at bu.edu
Wed Jan 10 07:55:03 PST 2018

I'm curious how they will build a network with a fake profile. Are they
going to set up an entire fake profile and contribute to larger public
discussions (ex: FB groups or a post from an account they follow) without
having any friends? To me, if I saw that I would immediately assume it was
a fake account and I doubt I would engage with it in a realistic/natural
way. Are they going to try and friend random people? One another? People
they know?

Another option might be a site where people are typically anonymous or use
pseudonyms such as Twitter, Snapchat, or Reddit. Reddit, in particular,
would let you get around the problem of not having anyone
following/friending the account. But it would have to be a different kind
of project since with few exceptions people do not follow account names
outside of a single thread. If you want to explore a more Goffman-esque set
of questions, Instagram might be quite interesting.


On Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 10:30 AM, Charles M. Ess <c.m.ess at media.uio.no>

> Thanks, Daniel,
> On 10/01/18 15:55, Daniel Thomas wrote:
>> On 10/01/18 14:43, Charles M. Ess wrote:
>>> A research project involves a small number of students, legally minors -
>>> and requires that they set up fake FB accounts for the sake of
>>> role-playing in an educational context?
>>> Of course, fake accounts are a clear violation of the FB ToS.
>> Is the use of facebook necessary for this research? Are the role-playing
>> accounts interacting with the wider network or just with each other? If
>> the role-playing accounts are only interacting with each other then
>> could a self-hosted open source social network system be used? This
>> would bypass facebook ToS issues.
> Excellent points and considerations!
> But, FWIW: FB was chosen precisely in order to be accessible to a larger
> public, both online and offline (e.g., activities affiliated with the
> project coordinated online and involving representing the fake personas
> offline).
> Again, many thanks!
> best,
> - c.
> --
> Professor in Media Studies
> Department of Media and Communication
> University of Oslo
> <http://www.hf.uio.no/imk/english/people/aca/charlees/index.html>
> Postboks 1093
> Blindern 0317
> Oslo, Norway
> c.m.ess at media.uio.no
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