[Air-L] research ethics again - students and FB
Dan L. Burk
dburk at uci.edu
Wed Jan 10 13:37:36 PST 2018
So, although I am not saying that the study design is ethical, or even
necessarily a good idea, I would most definitely take issue with either
the specific assertion that violating an adhesion contract is always
unethical (it is called an adhesion contract for good reason), and with
the more general assertion that violations of law are always unethical.
Also, non-trivially, the assertion is a non-sequitur: minors generally
can't enter into binding contracts, so there is by definition no
contract for them to violate.
None of that means you should go ahead and do it; only that if you
decline to do so, it should be for some other reasons.
Dan L. Burk
Chancellor's Professor of Law
University of California, Irvine
2017-18 Fulbright Cybersecurity Scholar
On 2018-01-10 09:28, Christopher J. Richter wrote:
> 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
>> Postboks 1093
>> Blindern 0317
>> Oslo, Norway
>> c.m.ess at media.uio.no
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