New Challenges, Cases, and Contexts
Edited By Michael Zimmer and Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda
The continuous evolution of internet and related social media technologies and platforms have opened up vast new means for communication, socialization, expression, and collaboration. They also have provided new resources for researchers seeking to explore, observe, and measure human opinions, activities, and interactions. However, those using the internet and social media for research – and those tasked with facilitating and monitoring ethical research such as ethical review boards – are confronted with a continuously expanding set of ethical dilemmas. Internet Research Ethics for the Social Age: New Challenges, Cases, and Contexts directly engages with these discussions and debates, and stimulates new ways to think about – and work towards resolving – the novel ethical dilemmas we face as internet and social media-based research continues to evolve. The chapters in this book – from an esteemed collection of global scholars and researchers – offer extensive reflection about current internet research ethics and suggest some important reframings of well-known concepts such as justice, privacy, consent, and research validity, as well as providing concrete case studies and emerging research contexts to learn from.
Chapter Seventeen: Death, Affect and the Ethical Challenges of Outing a Griefsquatter (Lisbeth Klastrup)
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Death, Affect AND THE Ethical Challenges OF Outing A Griefsquatter
In this chapter, I share my experiences and reflections on the ethically most challenging case I have come across in my career as an internet and social media researcher: an imposter creating public R.I.P-pages for people he did not know, apparently in order to harvest as many likes as possible across a range of pages. At the core of this case one central question emerged: What are our moral and ethical obligations, both as researchers and as human beings, when our research gives us important insight into controversial and apparently unethical practices on social media? The question is further complicated if the given practice is not directly relevant to the research project. In my case, the given practice simply did not fit into the journal paper, which came out of my research. Nevertheless, I surmise that what I observed was a form of behavior which is sadly recurrent on social media platforms (notably Facebook at the time of writing), and which other social media researchers may encounter; and accordingly I believe that as researchers in this field we need to identify and carve out more spaces where it makes sense to discuss these practices, both from a research perspective and from an ethical perspective. I certainly was not able to find applicable advice in the existing ethical guidelines for internet research when...
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