The DEEP Linking Youth Project collects and analyses social media data to generate subsequent insights for policymakers. This requires ethical consideration.  The Code of Conduct sets out the rules according to which the project  perform social listening with integrity and maintain a sense of responsibility when dealing with personal data in line with fair expectations of European citizens.

General Principles

  1. No deception (research in the guise of marketing).
  2. Use ‘opt-out’ where citizens can contact us to have their data withdrawn from future social media analysis.
  3. Avoid harm to the data owner.

Data collection

  1. Treat data collected from suspected under-16s as sensitive.
  2. No use of ‘wall garden’ content (where the data gatherer mush join or register a network). This code applies to public social media channels only.
  3. Inform participants when an ‘owned’ digital channel is being used for research purposes.
  4. Minimise the collection and analysis of unnecessary ‘meta-data’, such as location data or the username or @ handle, where this information is not necessary for the project.

Data handling

  1. Do not keep data for longer than it is needed. This is because there is an increased risk that the information will go out of date but also poses an increased risk that it will not be held securely.  We suggest a maximum retention period of 6 months.
  2. Keep all raw data securely, e.g. by using encryption or password protection.
  3. No transfer of ownership or sale of collected data to third parties.


  1. Do not use quotations or material that could be traced back to individuals. This may mean broadcasting a post without attribution, or with a blurring of the name and preserving original context so as not to surprise the originator (see ‘masking’ in section 5.0).
  2. Quotes from accounts maintained by public organisations (e.g. government departments, law enforcement, local authorities, national press and broadcasters) are allowed without seeking prior informed consent.


  1. Publish results (or a subset thereof) openly to demonstrate transparency around how the data is being used.


  1. Research participants will be protected from unnecessary and unwanted intrusions and/or any form of personal harassment.
  2. Be clear about our aims and role as a research project.

Ethics Officer: Remmert Keijzer, The Consultation Institute, has been appointed as the Ethics Officer of the DEEP-linking Youth project throughout its two-year implementation. The Ethics Officer will be verifying the application of the established Code of Conduct and use the rules accordingly to safeguard project data.

For more information, please contact

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