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Social Media Sites not Authentic Source to Gather Information on Human Behavior
Scientists through a study revealed that using social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to gather information on human behavior is not at all appropriate.
It has been found that behavioral scientists use social media in order to quickly and cost-friendly gather bulks of data about what people are thinking and doing.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in the US and McGill University in Canada have recently found that the massive datasets can even be misleading.
Carnegie Mellon's Juergen Pfeffer and McGill's Derek Ruths said that scientists need to find other ways of correcting for the biases inherent in the information gathered from twitter and other social media.
Researcher also noted that thousands of research papers every year are now based on data gathered from social media, a source of data that barely existed even five years ago.
Pfeffer said in a statement that everything that is labeled as 'Big Data' is not actually great. He also said that many researchers think that if they gather large chunks of dataset they can overcome any biases or distortion.
Scientists said social media sites often have substantial population biases. It generates samples that give surveys their power to accurately reflect an attitudes and behavior, which is quite problematic.
Instagram for instance has a special appeal to adults between the age of 18 and 29. Pinterest on the other hand is dominated by women between the ages of 25 and 34, and these women on average have a household income of $100,000.
Ruths and Pfeffer said some questions about data sampling can never be resolved because social media sites use proprietary algorithms to create or filter their data streams and those algorithms are subject to change without warning.
They said with such unpredictable changes some researchers are left in dark, though others with relationships to the sites get a look at the site's inner workings.