March 21, 2023 11:42 pm

A virtuous cycle for social media (SM) information and sustainability by way of transparency, inclusivity, and accountable information use. Credit: One particular Earth (2023). DOI: ten.1016/j.oneear.2023.02.008

With far more than half of the world’s population active on social media networks, user-generated information has proved to be fertile ground for social scientists who study attitudes about the atmosphere and sustainability.

But a number of challenges threaten the accomplishment of what is identified as social media information science. The key concern, according to a new study from an international study group, is restricted access to information resulting from restrictive terms of service, shutdown of platforms, information manipulation, censorship and regulations.

The study, published in the journal One particular Earth, is the initially identified to evaluate the scope of environmental social media study and its prospective to transform sustainability science. The 17-member study group analyzed 415 research, published amongst 2011 and 2021, that examined social media content material associated to the atmosphere.

“Concepts about climate transform and our atmosphere are increasingly coming from social media,” mentioned Derek Van Berkel, assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s College for Atmosphere and Sustainability and 1 of the study’ 3 lead authors. “On line communities like Reddit, or merely news stories shared by your good friends on Facebook, have turn into digital landscapes exactly where lots of suggestions are shaped and formed.”

Understanding how these suggestions are shaped aids science communicators in honing environmental messaging and prompts them to fill gaps exactly where details is lacking or misrepresented.

In spite of the prospective public added benefits of social media information science, the authors argue, present business enterprise models of social media platforms have generated a vicious cycle in which user information is treated as a private asset that can be bought or sold for profit. This has raised public concern and mistrust of social media organizations, top to a higher demand for far more regulation.

The study supports the thought of replacing this vicious cycle with a “virtuous cycle.”

“A virtuous cycle needs the collaboration of SM organizations, researchers, and the public,” mentioned co-lead study author Johannes Langemeyer from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technologies at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

“For their portion, sustainability researchers can foster far more trust and cooperation by embracing higher ethical requirements. Inclusivity, transparency, privacy protection, and accountable use of the information are essential requirements—and will lead to an enhanced standardization of study practices moving forward,” Langemeyer mentioned.

A promising instance of cooperation from a social media platform was initiated in January 2021 when Twitter set a new regular for broader access to researchers by introducing a new academic study solution track, which for the initially time permitted absolutely free complete-archive searches for authorized researchers.

Such an method could have served as a model for wider open access across social media platforms. But confirming the fears of researchers, Twitter lately announced that as of Feb. 9, 2023, the corporation will no longer assistance absolutely free access.

“SM information has the prospective to usher in a revolution in the present practices of sustainability study, specifically in the social sciences, with an effect on par with that of Earth observation in the environmental sciences,” mentioned co-lead study author Andrea Ghermandi from the Division of Organic Sources and Environmental Management at the University of Haifa in Israel.

The study concludes that social media information assessments can assistance the 2015 U.N. Sustainable Improvement Objectives that serve as a universal get in touch with to action to finish poverty, safeguard the planet, and make certain that by 2030 all folks delight in peace and prosperity.

“Reaching the U.N. Sustainable Improvement Objectives will demand huge-scale, multi-nation efforts as properly as granular information for tailoring sustainability efforts,” the study authors wrote.

“The shared values and objectives of functioning for a sustainable future might offer popular ground for the cooperation necessary to completely understand the contribution that SM information provides.”

A lot more details:
Andrea Ghermandi et al, Social media information for environmental sustainability: A vital overview of possibilities, threats, and ethical use, One particular Earth (2023). DOI: ten.1016/j.oneear.2023.02.008

Journal details:
One particular Earth