The Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) drafted a set of guidelines to serve as an ethical framework for research work performed within social media. Last year, CASRO formed the Social Media Research Task Force to give cadence to the unique formats, behavior systems, terminologies and varied privacy expectations of the social media space. The guidelines were written in collaboration with ESOMAR to promote as much international uniformity as possible given the differing privacy laws in the US and the European Union.
These Social Media Research Guidelines seek to address several needs made apparent in the global emergence of social media as a distinctive way for people to communicate. CASRO makes clear the key purposes of this framework are “to be consistent with the spirit and intent of existing laws; reflect the industry’s ethical and professional principles set forth in the CASRO Code of Standards and Ethics; and be sufficiently broad and flexible to address both current and anticipated trends in social media.”
Researchers are encouraged to be transparent when dealing with social media participants and not represent their market research as a project with any other intent. The guidelines also make clear that researchers are responsible for protecting the respondents’ information from disclosure to third parties as well as maintaining a balance between the need for research and the privacy of research participants.
CASRO is seeking additional feedback from the industry and welcome you to review the guidelines and provide relevant commentary before the guidelines are finalized. You can view the guidelines and submit your comments by visiting the CASRO website. The deadline for comments is Friday, September 9, 2011
As a member of CASRO, Infosurv abides by the organization’s existing laws of ethics and professional principles in every interaction with clients and research respondents. Going forward, we will also adhere to the industry wide framework set forth to guide research in the social media space.