Chances and Challenges of Computational Data Gathering and Analysis : The case of issue-attention cycles on Facebook
Keywordscomputational data gathering
digital and social media research
hybrid news ecosystem
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AbstractDigital and social media and large available data-sets generate various new possibilities and challenges for conducting research focused on perpetually developing online news ecosystems. This paper presents a novel computational technique for gathering and processing large quantities of data from Facebook. We demonstrate how to use this technique for detecting and analysing issue-attention cycles and news flows in Facebook groups and pages. Although the paper concentrates on a Finnish Facebook group as a case study, the demonstrated method can be used for gathering and analysing large sets of data from various social network sites and national contexts. The paper also discusses Facebook platform regulations concerning data gathering and ethical issues in conducting online research.