This book addresses the question of how researchers can conduct independent, ethical research on mal-, mis- and disinformation in a rapidly changing and hostile data environment.
The escalating issue of data access is thrown into sharp relief by the large-scale use of bots, trolls, fake news, and strategies of false amplification, the effects of which are difficult to quantify due to a corporate environment favouring platform lockdowns and the restriction of access to Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). As social media platforms increase obstacles to independent scholarship by dramatically curbing access to APIs, researchers are faced with the stark choice of either limiting their use of trace data or developing new methods of data collection. Without a breakthrough, social media research may go the way of search engine research, in which only a small group of researchers who have direct relationships with search companies such as Google and Microsoft can access data and conduct research.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of the journal, Information, Communication & Society.
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