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Social Science Speaks: Post-API Social Media Research with Professor Deen Freelon
October 4, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Post-API Social Media Research: A Trip to the Twilight Zone
Odum Institute 95th Anniversary Speaker Series | Professor Deen Freelon
In honor of our 95th anniversary, the Odum Institute is organizing a speaker series to highlight the interdisciplinary impacts of social science research. As part of this series, Professor Deen Freelon of the UNC-CH School of Media and Journalism will hold a talk on his work in the field of social media research, followed by a Q&A session. Refreshments will be provided.
About Dr. Freelon:
Deen Freelon is an associate professor in the School of Media and Journalism. His research covers two major areas of scholarship: 1) political expression through digital media and 2) data science and computational methods for analyzing large digital datasets. He has authored or co-authored more than 30 journal articles, book chapters and public reports, in addition to co-editing one scholarly book. He has served as principal investigator on grants from the Knight Foundation, the Spencer Foundation and the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has written research-grade software to calculate intercoder reliability for content analysis (ReCal), analyze large-scale network data from social media (TSM), and collect data from Facebook (fb_scrape_public). He formerly taught at American University in Washington, D.C.
The post-API age presents social media researchers with a critical choice: follow the platforms’ increasingly restrictive terms of service, or violate them and risk the consequences. What should we do when the data we are permitted to access are insufficient for our research purposes?
Prof. Freelon’s talk will present a tale of two forking research paths stemming from the same project: the rule-following path he actually took, and a counterfactual “twilight zone” scenario in which the rules prevented him from conducting his research. The differences between these paths will highlight the implications of researchers’ choices in acquiring, analyzing, and publishing with social media data.