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  • Disclosure
    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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A few questions spring to mind:

Would outsourcing a data entry/copy&paste job overseas, where data could be copied manually for next to nothing, be ethically different from web scraping? (I'm not sure if this breaches Facebook T&Cs)

Can reading data and content that is "already out there" be considered primary research at all?

In terms of "informed consent" - the vast majority of people are aware that Twitter feeds are completely public and thus "fair game" to an extent. Many Facebook users are NOT aware that their content is readable, therefore not "informed". Does this make a difference?

Consent is surely implicit rather than explicit in many situations anyhow, and rarely informed.

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