Studying Politically Vulnerable Communities Online: Ethical Dilemmas, Questions, and Solutions


This short article introduces the concept of political vulnerability for social media researchers. How are traditional notions of harm challenged by research subjects in politically vulnerable communities? Through a selection of case studies, we explore some of the trade-offs, challenges, and questions raised by research that seeks be robust and transparent while also preserving anonymity and privacy, especially in high-stakes, politically fraught contexts.

ICWSM Workshop on Exploring Ethical Trade-offs in Social Media Research (Stanford, June 25)