Tag Archives: twitter

Proposed guidelines for the ethical use of Twitter data

Background to this article: Twitter is releasing its historical archive of public tweets to selected researchers. See Introducing Twitter Data Grants and Twitter #DataGrants selections.

Scientific American says “A trove of billions of tweets will be a research boon and an ethical dilemma.” Indeed. We’re thus reproducing part of Caitlin M. Rivers and Bryan L. Lewis’s article Ethical research standards in a world of big data for comment.

Proposed guidelines for the ethical use of Twitter data

The objectives, methodologies, and data handling practices of the project are transparent and easily accessible

This information should be published in manuscripts, published on the web for the public to access, and provided to IRB (when relevant). Going forward, collaboration between the research community and Twitter to provide information to users about ongoing research and relevant results may also be beneficial. Transparency regarding uses of Internet data for research purposes is needed for fostering ‘privacy literacy’ so that the users can make informed decisions about participating in Twitter.

Study design and analyses respect the context in which a tweet was sent

A tweet author discussing his mental health, for example, does not do so with the intention of sharing that data with researchers; he does it to communicate with his digital community. Qualitatively analyzing these communications as if they are offered for research consumption does not align with the context in which the tweets were created. Twitter participants can reasonably expect to rely on some anonymity of the crowd to manage privacy.

The anonymity of tweet authors is protected, ensuring that subjects should not be identifiable in any way

To preserve source anonymity, direct quotes or screen names are not publishable, nor are any details that could be used to identify a subject. Any and all information that could be entered into a search engine to trace back to a human source should be protected. A composite of multiple example tweets may instead be used for illustrative purpose. Geolocations in particular should be scaled to a larger geographic area in order to avoid violating the privacy of those tweet authors. The Title 13 of the Data Protection and Privacy Policy, the federal law under which the Census Bureau is regulated, expressly forbids publishing GPS coordinates; researchers should adhere to this guideline as well.

Tweet data are not used to harvest additional information from other sources

Focused collection is also important for preserving anonymity. It is possible to use data collected from Twitter to discern the identities of tweet authors, which can then be used to find and collect additional information from additional sources. For example an author’s username, identifying details provided in tweet texts, or geolocations could all be used to collect data about that individual from other sources like Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, or public records.

Twitter users’ efforts to control their personal data are honored

Researchers may not follow a user on Twitter in order to gain access to a protected account. Doing so would violate that user’s efforts to control his or her personal data.

Researchers work collaboratively with IRB just as they would for any other human subject data collection

There is not currently an expectation that researchers engaging in research using Twitter will interface with their IRB. As discussed above, studies that could be conceived as individual-based should require IRB approval, whereas research designs that use data in aggregate (e.g. counts of keywords) may proceed without explicit consent. In turn, review boards should keep abreast of social network mining methodologies and corresponding ethical considerations in order provide informed guidance to researchers.

Geek Feminism readers: what do you think?

Article source, licencing and citation notes:

This post is an excerpt of Ethical research standards in a world of big data by Caitlin M. Rivers and Bryan L. Lewis as allowed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence. We suggest that anyone quoting or reproducing this article copy from the original source to ensure accuracy.

The original article can be cited as: Rivers CM and Lewis BL (2014) Ethical research standards in a world of big data [v1; ref status: approved with reservations 1, http://f1000r.es/2wq] F1000Research 2014, 3:38 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.3-38.v1)

Linkspam special edition: #YesAllWomen (May 29 2014)

Warning: many of these links discuss misogyny and violence against women in general, some specific incidents of violence, particularly the Isla Vista killings. Graphic content will have additional warnings.

Due to our editorial process for linkspams, we’re sometimes not right on top of breaking news. Usually at least 12 and often 24 hours passes between the email that gathers up all the suggestions and emails the spam team doing its thing and the assigned spammer having time to check them all and post the linkspam, and that’s when there’s no holidays and such. Thus, yesterday’s spam didn’t include discussion of the Isla Vista killings and #YesAllWomen and other discussions. Welcome, sadly, to a special edition.

  • Warning: recounting of rape in geek culture. Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds | Arthur Chu at The Daily Beast (May 27): “[L]isten up, fellow self-pitying nerd boys—we are not the victims here. We are not the underdogs. We are not the ones who have our ownership over our bodies and our emotions stepped on constantly by other people’s entitlement. We’re not the ones where one out of six of us will have someone violently attempt to take control of our bodies in our lifetimes.”
  • [Isla Vista Killer] And Men Who Hate Women | The Belle Jar (May 24): “We have no evidence yet that he suffered from any kind of mental illness or was seeking any sort of treatment. Immediately claiming that with no proof to back that fact up leads to the further stigmatization of the mentally ill, and contributes to the (incorrect) assumption that mental illness equals violence, and vice versa. We don’t know whether [killer] was mentally ill. What we do know is that he was a Men’s Rights Activist, or MRA.”
  • Men’s Work by Paul Kivel | Lis at staranise (May 24): “I want to remind everyone to practice self-care and remember the people who are doing real good in the world. The more progress we make, the more individual events stand out. We actually live in a time of unprecedented safety and peace, whether you’re comparing us to 200 years ago or 20 years ago. Gendered violence specifically has gone down a lot in the last 20 years. There are reasons to be hopeful. It’s just easier to forget that because as the forest thins out, the trees loom so much bigger.”
  • A hashtag activism guide for men | Jess Zimmerman at The Daily Dot (May 26): “Women on Twitter were appalled and frightened by this virulent misogynist rhetoric, but we were not especially surprised, and then we were kind of appalled and frightened that we weren’t especially surprised. So we came together to share stories of the harassment, aggression, dismissal, and dehumanization that women—#YesAllWomen—face every day… And boy, did this piss off some dudes!”

While we’re here, we’re using a tool developed and perfected by women of color activists:

See also Suey Park’s Hashtags as Decolonial Projects with Radical Origins.

Hashtag credits: we believe that #YesAllWomen‘s creator has asked not to be credited at this time. Please let us know if this is incorrect. Readers will also want to read the #YesAllWhiteWomen tweets; we haven’t seen a definitive statement of the founder of #YesAllWhiteWomen, but it may be @JennMJack on May 26. If further credits are needed, we welcome corrections.

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs. If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Comment note: general discussion of misogyny and violence welcome, as well as specific responses to the Isla Vista killings and discussion in recent days. However, please do not name the Isla Vista killer in comments here. Remember Katherine Cooper, Veronika Weiss, Christopher Michael-Martinez, Cheng Yuan Hong, George Chen and Weihan Wang instead.

My Little Linkspam: URLs are magic (22 January 2013)

  • Gender in Twitter: Styles, stances, and social networks: “By clustering Twitter feeds, we find a range of styles and interests that reflects the multifaceted interaction between gender and language.”
  • New X-Men Relaunch Will Feature an All Women Team, Albeit Still Drawn By Men: “A relaunch of X-Men is going to feature an all-lady series, including all of my favorite female characters: Jubilee, Kitty Pride, Storm, Rogue, Rachel Grey, and Psylocke. X-Men has a history of featuring strong females, and I have high hopes for how well this series will be written even though it is authored and drawn by two men, because really, this would have been the perfect opportunity for a female writer and artist.”
  • Sexism In Gaming: A Response To Gabrielle Toledano: “[W]hat Toledano fails to comprehend is that gaming, like everything else, is an ecosystem – and right now, at every single level of participation, women are feeling the effects of sexism.”
  • The Panasonic Toughpad Press Conference: “A man in charge of something important just made a SEX PISS JOKE at the Panasonic Press Conference and that’s all fine. I don’t understand. I don’t understand. Is that fine? Is this just what happens at tech events? I want to have a lie down.”
  • The Great Face-Paint Debate: “The anti-‘superficiality’ thread in geek culture promotes often veers into femmephobic territory. Spending $30 on a single t-shirt with a particular geek darling’s logo emblazoned on it is considered admirable, while spending $30 on an entire outfit that reads “fancy” or “overdressed” (i.e. coordinated and feminine) is unthinkable.”
  • Women take future of coding in own hands: “Howard acknowledges that there are plenty of coding classes out there, but in approaching a predominantly male profession, many women prefer to learn without the typical “bravado,” as she termed the hyper-competitive nature of coding groups or hackathons.”
  • Sigh.: “Can I not even escape getting punched in the face by the unattainable “idealized” female body in my nerdy writer space?”
  • The Feministing Five: Reshma Saujani: “Girls want to leverage the power of technology to help others, and I knew we had to teach more girls the skills they needed to do that. The girls we taught last summer all opted to build products to give back to their communities.”

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on delicious or pinboard.in or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Multiple small broken window panes, through which greenery outside can be seen.

Quick hit: #mencallmethings

Trigger warning for quoted harassment and threats in the entry and links.

On Twitter, Sady Doyle has created a #mencallmethings tag:

The thing is, name-calling DOES have an impact. It’s a continual message that your voice is not legitimate & using it will only hurt you.

Threats are scary and all, but we’d have a field day if every woman and anti-sexist person online listed the names they were called.

AND THUS, I SHALL NOW DO SO. Shrieky. Screechy. Hysterical. Professional victim. Pathological victim. Hypersensitive. #mencallmethings

Feminist writers are thus tweeting some of the abuse they have received on the #mencallmethings tag. As Jill of Feministe puts it:

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to spend a day in the glamorous life of a feminist blogger? Check out #mencallmethings on Twitter… (Trigger warning for rape, violence and misogyny).

xx your favorite lesbian hambeast

Further commentary by Sady Doyle is up at Tiger Beatdown:

And yet, a sadness comes upon me. Now that I have regenerated, Whovianly, into my current form — all serious-faced and irritable and SAD TIMES ABOUT SEXISM — I find myself missing her carefree ways. Moreover, I find myself wondering how she pulled it off. How the Hell did she stay in such a good mood all the time? And I think I’ve found my answer: In 2009, I genuinely believed people were going to change their minds about being sexist, because they read my blog

I hate to tell you this, friends. But I think my plan, it had a minor flaw. Which is: Misogynists don’t like women. It doesn’t matter how uniquely charming and witty and acquainted with various fine bourbons you are. Are you a woman? Then they don’t like you. And they especially don’t like you telling them what to do. By, for example, asking them to cut it out with the misogyny.

In fourteen hours, it’s already made it to the Australian mainstream media, where I actually learned of it. I am clearly off my blogger game here.

A computer monitor sitting on the ground, with the screen smashed

Technology protest: what do you do?

Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research write about some responses to social media protest:

It’s common, and easy, to say “just don’t use it.” There’s actually a term for this– technology refusal– meaning people who strategically “opt out” of using overwhelmingly prevalent technologies. This includes teens who’ve committed Facebook suicide because it causes too much drama; off-the-grid types who worry about the surveillance potentials of GPS-enabled smartphones; older people who think computers are just too much trouble; and, of course, privacy-concerned types who choose not to use Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, websites with cookies, or any other technology that could potentially compromise their privacy. (This does not include people who can’t afford internet access or computers, or who live in areas without cell towers or broadband access.)… [There is] the idea that refusal is the only legitimate way to protest something one thinks is problematic, unconscionable, unethical, or immoral… I generally do not buy this idea. Here are three reasons why.

The Cost of Opting Out

Opting-out of watching The Bachelorette because I think it romanticizes sexism doesn’t impact me the same way that choosing not to have a cellphone does. If I choose not to have a cellphone, I am choosing to exist in a world where social norms have adapted to cellphones without adapting myself. Face it, someone without a cellphone requires everyone who interacts with that person to make special accommodations for them… not having a cellphone puts one at a serious disadvantage…

The Civic Responsibility to Critique

Members of a community (nation, state, book group, dining club, whatever) have a responsibility to criticize and suggest alternatives to things they find problematic, whether those are government principles, media representations, website policies, or laws. In fact, this is such a cultural norm that the right to protest is enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the US Constitution…

It’s Not Free

Social software is not free [the blog means price for those of you who immediately thought about liberty]… Only the most staunch pro-market capitalist would argue that a customer has no right to complain about a product or service that she is paying for, either directly or through the exchange of personal information.

I was, frankly, tempted to let this slide by in a linkspam, but we’re a bit quiet around here this week, so, let’s talk about varying forms of technology protest. Here are some of mine:

I left Facebook and will probably leave LinkedIn (just need to get some opinions from colleagues on whether this will be professionally damaging) over those sites’ like of using users to advertise products (LinkedIn just turned this on, here’s how to opt-out and here is their response to criticism), and Facebook’s continual cycles of making information shared with advertisers or applications and later making it opt-out in response to another wave of protest.

I am undecided on Google+: I intensely dislike their wallet-name policy, perhaps especially given that the initial policy was “name you are known by”, but it also has a lot of the features I miss about Facebook (in-line comments, longer entries than Twitter), so the cost of opting-out is a consideration for me there.

I keep some data in the cloud and use some Google services, although not as many as a lot of tech people (my personal email is not in Gmail, for example). There’s some cost of opting-out there too: cloud computing may be a trap but I notice Richard Stallman has an organisation that pays people to be his sysadmins (or could, at least, I can’t say I am certain whether RMS admins his own boxes). I could host my own Status.net instance, Diaspora, etc, but I don’t have the time or money. There’s also reader/friend cost: many more people follow me on Twitter than on Identi.ca as it is, almost no one ever logs into Diaspora that I’ve seen. I am simply not powerful enough to force my friends to follow me to different sites, so to some extent I stay where they are.

Most recently, I bought an Amazon Kindle which is fairly well evil (ie, so DRMed it’s possible that it will grow legs in the night, scan and eat my paper books, and make me ring Jeff Bezos in future for permission to read them). This is actually a response to even more nastiness to some degree: at least Amazon sells some recent e-books to Australian customers, relative to almost all of the ePub vendors anyway, and moreover sells them at the US price as opposed to the special markup (about 100%) Australians pay for anything electronic or Internetty. So that’s flat-out poor options, there.

I am committed to the right to complain about things I use in general: to be honest I think a lot of the “leave if you don’t like it” criticism, at least from people who are themselves apathetic, is rooted in “it’s not cool to care about things, don’t make me watch you caring”.

How about you? What services do you stick with and complain/protest about, and why? Which ones have you left/not signed up for despite temptation, and why?

Note: a bit of amnesty would be nice in this post. We’re talking about people’s choices, and frantic attempts to convert everyone to your version of technology purity will stop the conversation. If someone says that they are actively seeking an alternative to service X that has property Y, that would be a good time to mention service Z, which offers X-like functionality with more Y. Otherwise, let people talk.

Linkspam hangover (4th January, 2010)

If you have links of interest, please share them in comments here, or if you’re a delicious user, tag them “geekfeminism†to bring them to our attention. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links in comments and on delicious.

Microblogging: Geek Feminist Edition

In a discussion a while back on Twitter, a friend asked me to point her to other geek feminists on there. I could think of lots of people on both Twitter and the various StatusNet-based services like identi.ca who I know through this blog, LinuxChix, Ubuntu Women, and other projects, but I figured it would be nice to have folks self-identify, and possibly what they tweet / dent about if so inclined. I’ll kick it off with my own in the comments!