fbpx Redesigning Consent: Big Data, Bigger Risks | Harvard Kennedy School


Over the last decade, the rapid proliferation of social media platforms coupled with the advancement of computational methods for collecting, processing, and analyzing big datasets created new opportunities for social science. But alongside new insights about the behaviors of individuals and groups, these practices raise new questions regarding what constitutes ethical research. Most critically, current disinformation scholars face a replication crisis exacerbated by uneven access to datasets, where social media users are unaware of their participation in academic research. Establishing scientific norms, where research is shared with the individuals whose data are accessed and processed in the name of science, involves redesigning consent and providing universal public access to databases. Ultimately, without methodological norms for disinformation studies, the field will continue to be dominated by corporate interests, further endangering the public’s trust in disinformation research.


Donovan, Joan. "Redesigning Consent: Big Data, Bigger Risks." The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review 1.1 (January 2020).