NEWS19 July 2011

Esomar publishes social media research guideline

Europe North America

NETHERLANDS— Esomar has published guidelines on using social media for research, developed in consultation with research association Casro.


The guidelines aim to provide clarity about how researchers should and should not use information from social media services – some of which, like Twitter and blogs, are openly available for all to see, while others, like Facebook, are restricted to members or particular users.

Esomar said the purpose of the new guidelines was to ”propose pragmatic solutions based on the principles underlying existing laws while not purporting to provide legal certainty”. It said it had worked with US association Casro “to ensure harmonised positions in the global online space”, despite differing privacy laws in the US and the European Union.

The association said that the same principles that underpin its existing guidelines on passive observation in public places should apply online.

Key points include that information that could be used to identify an individual should only be passed to a client with that person’s permission – which could come directly from the person, or could be implied in the terms of use of the site or online service in question. If such permission is not obtained, the information must be masked or anonymised so that the individual cannot be identified.

The guidelines encourage researchers to use “conservative approaches” to releasing and transferring data, recognising that some pieces of information about a person might not identify them when seen in isolation, but that they could be used to identify them when combined with other information.

The guidelines can be found online here.


1 Comment

13 years ago

I also published something today to make help make things simpler

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