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Illuminate the darkness with your social media data

We are researching how to use digital methods to gain a better understanding of loneliness in order to help people. Support our mission by donating your social media data anonymously. As a gesture of appreciation for your efforts, we will grant you interesting insights into your data.

What is this about?

Social interaction plays a significant role in our mental health. The Digital Health Center at the University of Potsdam is currently developing digital measurement tools in order to better understand it. In this ongoing study we are trying to answer a particular question: Can the social embeddedness of people be measured by utilizing their social media data?

If you want to participate in this study, you can request your data from a social media platform of your choice (currently supported: Facebook and WhatsApp). You can then anonymize this data on the website, upload it and donate it to our research platform.

Why should I participate?

Receive feedback

As a gesture of appreciation for your efforts, you will receive meaningful insights and feedback to your online interaction behaviour and social embeddedness. We will generate graphical representations of your sent and received messages over the last months as well as evaluate your completed questionnaires. This study is not intended to be a clinical-psychological diagnosis.

Support research

In this study, we are trying to measure the participants' social embeddedness using their interaction data (exchange of messages via Whatsapp or Facebook). The results of this study will contribute to the overall goal of better understanding the effects of social interaction on mental health.

Stay anonymous

When uploading your data, we will only process anonymized data (message length, message timestamp and pseudonyms of the conversation participants) and no content (message text or the name of the participants). We can therefore assure you that we have no access to your actual messages.

How do I participate in the study?

This study will be completely anonymous and online. To participate in this study, we will ask you to donate your anonymized messages and complete several questionnaires. In addition to that, you also have the choice to include an external assessment by a friend through the means of another questionnaire. After having downloaded the interaction data of a platform of your choice, the study will only last for about 30 minutes.

Can I drop out during the study?

First things first: participation is entirely voluntary. At at time, you may revoke your consent concerning your participation in the study, without giving any reason and without any kind of negative consequences. Before uploading the data to our research platform, you may revoke your consent concerning the storage of your anonymized data, without giving any reason and without any kind of negative consequences.

How do I donate my data?

Data request: You request your social media data from a platform of your choice (currently supported: Facebook and WhatsApp) and download it to your device.

Anonymization: We will remove all content from your data and limit it to metadata (e.g. length and timestamp of message). Your name, as well as the names of other participants, will get replaced by random pseudonyms (eg. "James" → "anonymous13"). You may examine the anonymization of your data before uploading it to our servers.

Linking: To be able to merge your and your friend's filled-out questionnaire with your donated data, you will receive a random pseudonym (eg. X834N). This pseudonym will allow us to merge the different data sets and gets deleted after having done so.

Storage: Only anonymized and reduced data will be uploaded to one of our secure servers.

The purpose of this website is to inform you about the background and process of this online study. If any questions or concerns arise during the process, please write to the principal investigator (Hanna Drimalla, Digital Health Center, Hasso-Plattner-Institut, Universit├Ąt Potsdam, hanna.drimalla@hpi.de, Tel. 0331-55094829)