Ethical Considerations When Using Social Media for Research
Because of its adaptation across age groups and populations, social media is being used as a venue for the conduction of research studies. The implications for use of social media to streamline data collection and analyses to understand epidemiologic effects of disease are intriguing. Public access to personalized Internet-based searches and conversations for patients with or at risk for cancer can potentially allow providers to target individuals for earlier interventions and improved outcomes. Although publicly posted, the use of personal information to solicit research participants, implement interventions, or abstract information for research studies raises questions regarding maintaining the ethical conduct of research.