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Defending Data

by Caitlin Vogus

Privacy Protection, Independent Researchers, and Access to Social Media Data in the US and EU

This new report, authored by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), discusses emerging questions about researcher access to data accumulated by social media platforms. It describes regulatory approaches from Europe as well as the US and also looks at privacy rights, researcher vetting standards and limits to access to such data.

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The report states that “access to social media data by independent researchers is at the forefront of efforts to improve tech transparency. Article 40 of the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) requires providers of very large online platforms and very large online search engines to provide vetted researchers with access to data, subject to certain conditions. In the United States, lawmakers are considering several bills, which vary in their details, that would require social media companies to provide data to researchers.” This report also examines “existing legal protections for stored social media data in the US and the EU and how they might be impacted by researcher access to social media data.”

The views, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this report are solely those of its author(s) and do not reflect the views of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, or its employees.

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