The use of social media is becoming more prevalent in every aspect our lives. More researchers are using social media both as a means to recruit research participants for studies and as a source of raw data. People using social media make certain assumptions as to how their data is protected and used.
In this discussion, social media is defined as any social online data except for email. Health related uses of social media can include discussion forums, chatrooms and blogs. These online forums are used by both private (password protected) groups or public forums.
This presentation discusses issues such as the terms and conditions of the social media platforms, user assumptions, the concept of implied agreement, when informed consent is needed, and issues of privacy and anonymity.
I will focus on a number of examples of health/medical based research projects involving social media and related problematic issues. Also discussed will be when informed consent is needed, this issue of difficulty of determining if children or other vulnerable individuals have posted their information to these sites and minimising risk.