Using Historical Twitter Data for Research: Ethical Challenges of Tweet Deletions

Maddock, Jim; Starbird, Kate; Mason, Robert

This paper surfaces ethical concerns for social media researchers related to content deletion. We first provide a case study from our own work, which highlights a tradeoff between user rights and methodological consistency. We then offer partial anonymization as a possible answer, but acknowledge that better solutions may exist. Ultimately, we hope to engage the academic community to develop accepted practice for future work, and to contribute to the larger ethical debate surrounding social media research.