Facebook has issued a new set of research projects that will highlight social media’s impact on democracy. The projects will provide 60 academics access to “privacy-protected Facebook data” to do research into a range of topics, including the effect of IRA-trolling on the 2017 elections in Germany and the spread of fake news during the Chilean elections in that particular year.
Facebook will provide the data to the researchers from the platform’s APIs for CrowdTangle, its Ad Library, and, anonymized URL dataset. Researchers around the participated giant for allowance, while Facebook was not concerned about the projects that were approved. Facebook has also promised that it will not interrupt the research process in the future.
Elliot Schrage, VP for a special project, and Chaya Nayak, strategic initiatives manager, stated in a blog that to guarantee the autonomy of the research and the researchers, Facebook was not responsible in the selection of the people and their projects. Also, Facebook will not direct the research.
They said,” To assure the independence of the research and the researchers, Facebook did not play any role in the selection of the individuals or their projects and will have no role in directing the findings or conclusions of the research,”
As per the journalist’s report, researchers will have permission for some of the data, similar to the CrowdTangle API, while others datasets will be provided in stages after the testing cleared both of them are useful for academic research and meet appropriate privacy and legal standards.
Facebook partnered with Social Science One last year when the company gave researchers the access of the large data which included a constantly updated database of all the links that were available on the platform since January 2017. It also provided information such as how a link worked and how it spread.
Social Science One showed their concern about the misinformation, division, political campaigns, and other issues. Social Science One stated in a press release, “the urgency of this research cannot be overstated,” “Concerns about disinformation, polarization, political advertising, and the role of platforms in the information ecosystem have not diminished. If anything, they have heightened.”
Last summer Social Science One and Facebook’s partnership comes into risk when Facebook suspended Crimson Hexagon, a company co-founded by Gary King (co-chair Social Science One). Facebook alleged Crimson Hexagon for violating its policies as they removed the data from its platform. But Gary King refused the allegation of Facebook and told a news journal that he had never been indulged in the company’s day to day activities.