Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

A virtuous cycle for social media (SM) information and sustainability via transparency, inclusivity, and accountable information use. Credit: 1 Earth (2023). DOI: ten.1016/j.oneear.2023.02.008

With extra 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 many challenges threaten the achievement of what is recognized as social media information science. The main concern, according to a new study from an international analysis 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 1 Earth, is the 1st recognized to evaluate the scope of environmental social media analysis and its possible to transform sustainability science. The 17-member analysis group analyzed 415 research, published in between 2011 and 2021, that examined social media content material connected to the atmosphere.

“Suggestions about climate alter and our atmosphere are increasingly coming from social media,” stated 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 basically news stories shared by your pals on Facebook, have develop into digital landscapes exactly where quite a few tips are shaped and formed.”

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

In spite of the possible public added benefits of social media information science, the authors argue, present company 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 extra regulation.

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

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

“For their component, sustainability researchers can foster extra trust and cooperation by embracing higher ethical requirements. Inclusivity, transparency, privacy protection, and accountable use of the information are important requirements—and will lead to an enhanced standardization of analysis practices moving forward,” Langemeyer stated.

A promising instance of cooperation from a social media platform was initiated in January 2021 when Twitter set a new normal for broader access to researchers by introducing a new academic analysis solution track, which for the 1st time permitted cost-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 business will no longer help cost-free access.

“SM information has the possible to usher in a revolution in the present practices of sustainability analysis, particularly in the social sciences, with an effect on par with that of Earth observation in the environmental sciences,” stated 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 help the 2015 U.N. Sustainable Improvement Objectives that serve as a universal contact to action to finish poverty, defend the planet, and make sure that by 2030 all folks delight in peace and prosperity.

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

“The shared values and objectives of functioning for a sustainable future may possibly deliver popular ground for the cooperation necessary to completely understand the contribution that SM information presents.”

Additional data:
Andrea Ghermandi et al, Social media information for environmental sustainability: A vital assessment of possibilities, threats, and ethical use, 1 Earth (2023). DOI: ten.1016/j.oneear.2023.02.008

Journal data:
1 Earth

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