Tech giant Meta will be sharing privacy-preserving social media data with researchers to study topics related to well-being as part of a new partnership with the Center for Open Science (COS).
Under the partnership, Meta and COS have formed a pilot program that will allow social media companies such as Meta to have an opportunity to contribute to the public's scientific understanding of how different factors may or may not impact well-being and inform productive conversations about how to help people thrive.
In this pilot program, COS will serve as an independent third party and invite a select group of researchers to submit registered report proposals. The proposals will include research plans looking at the potential relationship between well-being topics and social media, as well as a request for specific social media data from Meta.
If the proposals are accepted, researchers will then be able to analyse the relevant data shared by Meta. The proposals, scientific reviews, analyses and final reports will also be made available to the public. This is to advance transparency and enable reproducibility of the findings.
In addition, Meta and COS will collaborate to implement protective privacy measures when sharing any type of user data.
“At Meta, we want to do our part to contribute to the scientific community’s understanding of how different factors may or may not relate to people’s well-being. We’re committed to doing this in a way that respects the privacy of people who use our apps," said Curtiss Cobb, vice president of research at Meta.
"COS has a proven track record of supporting scientific rigor and complex open-science projects, and we look forward to partnering with them on this pilot. We also hope it can provide a model for other companies to take similar steps."
This news comes after Meta revealed new tools to support independent research in November 2023 where researchers can achieve access to more publicly available content across social media.
Called the Meta Content Library, the new tool provide access to content from pages, posts, groups and events on Facebook, as well as creator and business accounts on Instagram.
Details about the content, such as the number of reactions, shares, comments and, for the first time, post view counts will also be available. Researchers can search, explore and filter that content on both a graphical User Interface (UI) or through a programmatic API.
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