SCIENTISTS at the University of York have called for guidelines to be made available to academics using social media for research.

A search of studies found only 11 have explored the views of social media users on employing such research methods, and as few as six considered the views of researchers.

Attitudes from social media users varied, from people stating that such research is essential, to those strongly against their posts being used.

Dr Su Golder, from the university’s Health Sciences department, said: “There is no doubt that social media can be very useful in research, but there are many important ethical questions that surround it.

“Should researchers have to ask permission from the person posting the information? Can they use non-public sites? Is it enough for researchers to anonymise any posts that they use?”