NYU Steinhardt News

Zimmer on Harvard's Facebook Study, Privacy

Michael Zimmer, Ph.D. alumnus (2007) of the NYU Steinhardt Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, comments in the Chronicle of Higher Education's article titled "Harvard Researchers Accused of Breaching Students' Privacy: Social-network project shows promise and peril of doing social science online," written by Marc Parry. In the article, Zimmer claims that the study, based on approximately 1,700 Facebook profiles, did not adequately protect the identity of Harvard students - the source of the research content. The privacy breach was uncovered through Zimmer's research as published in his 2010 article: "'But the data is already public': on the ethics of research in Facebook," Ethics & Information Technology, 12(4), 313-325.

Zimmer is an assistant professor at Milwaukee's School of Information Studies and co-director of its Center for Information Policy Research. With a background in new media and Internet studies, the philosophy of technology, and information ethics, Zimmer studies the ethical dimensions of new media and information technologies, with particular interest in privacy, social media, internet research ethics, and value-conscious design.

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