Towards contextual consent in social media health research


  • Dr Tristan Henderson

    University of St Andrews

Project summary

Social media has become an attractive data source for researchers, but its use also raises many ethical questions. 

This project will investigate whether it is possible to predict when social media users consent to having their data used for health research. To enable more meaningful informed consent, Dr Henderson will explore whether it is possible to use Nissenbaum’s contextual integrity to detect informational norms for the use of social media data and to predict consent for use. 

The goals of the project are two pilot studies looking at users of health support networks, collecting a large body of social media data, determining informational norms from the data, and applying contextual integrity to predict which data can be shared with whom. Focus groups and workshops with social media users and practitioners will help build on the algorithms developed in these pilot studies.