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Social Media and Human Rights


David Stillwell

R(w)SM Reading Group, May 19th, 2015, 2-3:30pm, Seminar Room, Sociology

Facebook as a Research Tool for the Social Sciences

In 2007, I founded a Facebook application called myPersonality that allowed users to take real psychological questionnaires used in actual scientific research. Since then, more than 6 million people took a personality questionnaire and 30% of those gave permission to access their Facebook profile. I will discuss how researchers can collect their own data, and some examples of research we've done so far.


Dr David Stillwell is Deputy Director of The Psychometrics Centre and leads the e-Psychometrics Unit. He obtained his BSc in Psychology at Nottingham in 2007 before progressing to an MSc in Research Methods in 2008. He obtained his PhD in Decision Making from the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham in December 2012.

Key reading

Kosinski, Matz, Gosling, Popov & Stillwell (in press).  Facebook as a Research Tool for the Social Sciences: Opportunities, Challenges, Ethical Considerations, and Practical Guidelines.  American Psychologist.    

[contact for a copy ahead of the meeting]

Supplementary readings

Youyou, W., Kosinski, M. & Stillwell, D. (2015) Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humansProceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Park, G., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D., Eichstaedt, J., Schwartz, A., Kern, P., Ungar, L. & Seligman, M. (2014) Automatic Personality Assessment through Social Media LanguageJournal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP)

YouTube compilation of research press coverage:

About this website

This is the website for Ella McPherson's work related to her 2014-17 ESRC-funded research project, Social Media, Human Rights NGOs, and the Potential for Governmental Accountability.