Draft code of ethics and standards for social data

The Big Boulder Initiative, a non-profit organisation that seeks to establish standards for social media companies, has recently published a Code of Ethics & Standards, which it describes as ‘a starting point for articulating and honoring the most ethical business practices surrounding social data and its use for organisations.’


Privacy: ‘There is an immediate need for industry stewardship to help provide more security and visibility into where personal data goes.’

  • Users should have ‘an ability to correct our own personal data where needed – ultimately acknowledging it is personal.’
  • Big Boulder Initiative will ‘develop proposed privacy standard forms for use across the eco-system to help platforms enforce their policies more uniformly’.
  • ‘Members of BBI believe that, in addition to honoring explicit privacy settings, organizations should honor implicit privacy preferences where possible. This may mean broadcasting a post without attribution, or with a blurring of the name.’
  • ‘BBI will strive to support more anonymous data batching where it is appropriate.’

Transparency: ‘Social data can be misleading without context.’

  • BBI will create and encourage the adoption of a standard scheme for metadata for social data with a standard for annotation on data and an industry benchmark on data quality…
  • Best practice is to include methodology notes, including method of collection, data context, and trace rate for data sources.
  • BBI will also advocate that management of deleted content is the collective responsibility of the eco-system. BBI will take the leadership to develop wider policies and technical standards to make the management of deleted content easier and more effective.

Education: ‘There is an opportunity to educate users on how their data is used – to help encourage best practice and ultimately promote a better process for better judgment.

  • The Big Boulder Initiative supports education efforts at all levels towards increasing the social data literacy through illustrative case studies.


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Published on: 8 Dec 2014
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