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Internet Research Ethics for the Social Age

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.

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Foreword: Grounding Internet Research Ethics 3.0: A View from (the) AoIR (Charles Ess)


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Grounding Internet Research Ethics 3.0: A View from (the) AoIR


Michael Zimmer and Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda have brought together a carefully organized and critically important anthology – important for its own sake and, as I will try to show, as this volume both indexes and inaugurates a third wave of Internet Research Ethics (IRE). That is, we can think of the first era of IRE – IRE 1.0 – to emerge alongside the initial IRE guidelines developed and issued by the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) in 2002 (Ess & AoIR Ethics Working Committee). To be sure, as Elizabeth Buchanan makes clear here in her magisterial overview of the past 20 years of IRE, the first AoIR document rests on considerably older roots. At the same time, it served as at least a partial foundation for the second AoIR document, “Ethical Decision-Making and Internet Research: Recommendations from the AoIR Ethics Working Committee (Version 2.0)” (Markham & Buchanan, 2012). As Buchanan shows, this second document – what many of us take as central to IRE 2.0 – was catalyzed by the multiple shifts affiliated with “the era of social computing took hold, circa 2005.” This shifts included first and foremost the rise of social networking sites (SNSs) such as MySpace, Friendster, and the now hegemonic Facebook, followed by an explosion of diverse venues and forms of social media that more or less define contemporary communication venues (e.g., Twitter, Snapchat,...

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