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

Christopher J. Richter crichter at hollins.edu
Wed Jan 10 09:28:30 PST 2018

Dear Charles,

TOS agreements are most often legally binding. Requiring minors (indeed any study participant, but especially minors) to violate a legal contract, whether online or off, is unethical on the face of it. 

Then there is the issue of deception, of whom and how interactions on the fake accounts are deceiving.  Deception, by definition, undermines informed consent. Will those who are deceived be debriefed? If not, it’s problematic.

Christopher J. Richter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
Hollins University
Roanoke VA, USA

> On Jan 10, 2018, at 4:44 PM, Charles M. Ess <c.m.ess at media.uio.no> wrote:
> Dear AoIRists,
> What are your thoughts regarding the following?
> 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.
> I know we've discussed the ethics of researchers doing this (with mixed results, i.e., some for, some concerned).
> But I'm curious what folk think / feel about this version of the problem.
> Many thanks in advance,
> - charles
> -- 
> 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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