Okcupid dating research christian dating no charge
is an all-too-familiar refrain used to gloss over thorny ethical concerns.
The most important, and often least understood, concern is that even if someone knowingly shares a single piece of information, big data analysis can publicize and amplify it in a way the person never intended or agreed.
Not to fan the flames on the social justice warriors.”I suppose I am one of those “social justice warriors” he's talking about. Rather, we should highlight this episode as one among the growing list of big data research projects that rely on some notion of “public” social media data, yet ultimately fail to stand up to ethical scrutiny.
Since Ok Cupid users have the option to restrict the visibility of their profiles to logged-in users only, it is likely the researchers collected—and subsequently released—profiles that were intended to be publicly viewable.
He added that it would be easy to identify more than 10,000 of the people in the data dump and link them to their sexual inclinations.
Kirkegaard said that his group posted people’s usernames because it found the data on these self-selected pseudonyms to be scientifically interesting.
The final methodology used to access the data is not fully explained in the article, and the question of whether the researchers respected the privacy intentions of 70,000 people who used Ok Cupid remains unanswered.
I contacted Kirkegaard with a set of questions to clarify the methods used to gather this dataset, since internet research ethics is my area of study.