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SHARENEWS: First Study with Facebook Data

SHARENEWS: First Study with Facebook Data

Facebook, with its approximately two billion users worldwide, has an enormous amount of data at its disposal. So far, the company has kept these well sealed. Now the independent research commission Social Science One has enabled access to big data. For one year, it supports twelve research projects that examine Facebook data in the context of elections.


The SHARENEWS project, in which the Leibniz Institute for Media Research|Hans- Bredow-Institut is involved as well, investigates the "shareworthiness" of online news. In a transnational study, the team of ten researchers wants to find out what characteristics of a message make users spread it on Facebook.

The study will be carried out in the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Germany. The research team consists of ten researchers from different European institutions: University of Amsterdam, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences in Cologne, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Adam Mickiewicz University, Loughborough University and the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans- Bredow-Institut (HBI). The project is led by the University of Amsterdam. Together with GESIS, the HBI will provide the findings for Germany.
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Project Description

The Role of Facebook

To ensure independent research, all twelve research projects using Facebook data were selected by Social Science One. The company Facebook had no influence on the selection nor does it support the projects financially. The company merely provides the data and has no influence whatsoever on what is done with it.

Data Protection & Privacy

Facebook makes its data available in aggregated form. No conclusions about individual profiles can be drawn from this. In the case of the SHARENEWS project, for example, only data records via shared links are used. Researchers can see which links were shared at what time, but not by whom.

Social Science One

Social Science One is a body consisting of scientists from all over the world and independent foundations acting as donors. The aim is to promote cooperation between Internet platforms and science. Dr. Cornelius Puschmann is part of the Scientific Advisory Board.

Social Science One's first project on "The Effects of Social Media on Democracy and Elections" offers researchers privacy-compliant access to Facebook data, funding from seven non-profit foundations across the ideological spectrum, and a novel Social Science One peer review service designed to accelerate scientific progress and shorten the time to publishing the results.

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Social Science One

Project Information


Duration: 2019-2020

Research programme:
Algorithmed Public Spheres

Third party

Social Science One

Cooperation Partner

Universität Amsterdam
GESIS - Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften in Köln,
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,
Adam Mickiewicz Universität,
Loughborough University

Contact person

Prof. Dr. Cornelius Puschmann
Professor at the University of Bremen

Prof. Dr. Cornelius Puschmann

Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI)
Rothenbaumchaussee 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 45 02 17 55
Fax +49 (0)40 45 02 17 77

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