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Utilizing Social Media Data for Public Good

Field Notes, Grants

The Governance Lab has published a report detailing how social media data can help solve pressing public problems.

Social media data can be seen as a double-edged sword: while individual privacy and security is a significant concern, social media data and the intelligence gained from data analytics can also help solve pressing public problems.

The Governance Lab at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering published a report that details the powerful potential of data collaboratives, a form of public-private partnerships that exchange information to create public value.


“The Potential of Social Media Intelligence to Improve People’s Lives: Social Media Data for Good” features real-world case studies.

Social media data gives NGOs, humanitarian organizations, and civil society actors access to previously inaccessible data sets. This data can provide insights to better understand underlying geographic and demographic trends, enable more accurate and targeted public service design and delivery, improve prediction models to mitigate problems before they occur, and evaluate policy impact in the real-world (suggest removing dash between real and world).

Twelve case studies illustrate how these data collaborations address social issues ranging from disaster relief to infectious disease control, climate change, infrastructure, and other sectors.

The Governance Lab is an action research center dedicated to transforming the way we govern through technology. They are one of the 2016 cohort of Digital Impact grantees.