Reddit, Imgur, and Twitch partner to provide data to researchers

August 19, 2014

Social networking websites Reddit, Imgur, and Twitch have launched a joint initiative called the Digital Ecologies Research Partnership (DERP), which they say will facilitate “open, publicly accessible, and ethical academic inquiry into the vibrant social dynamics of the web.” According to Imgur’s Tim Hwang, the three sites share the conviction that “there are ways of doing research better, and in a way that strongly respects user privacy and responsible use of data.” Hwang says that his group can help academic researchers gain access to data from social media platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter and facilitate cross-platform analysis. McGill University joins Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in signing up to access the data. Molly Sauter, a McGill Student who is working with DERP, said, “not only is it going to make it easier to for researchers to gain access to important and interesting data sets, but it will also help diversify the online populations and communities being studied.” Facebook recently faced controversy after it was revealed that researchers manipulated users' newsfeeds as part of a psychology experiment. The Guardian (UK)