Social media usage impacts upon the mental health and wellbeing of young people, yet there is not enough evidence to determine who is affected, how and to what extent. While it has widened and strengthened communication networks for many, the dangers posed to at-risk youth are serious. Social media data offers unique insights into the minute details of a user's online life. Timely consented access to data could offer many opportunities to transform understanding of its effects on mental wellbeing in different contexts. However, limited data access by researchers is preventing such advances from being made. Our multidisciplinary authorship includes a lived experience adviser, academic and practicing psychiatrists, and academic psychology, as well as computational, statistical, and qualitative researchers. In this Perspective article, we propose a framework to support secure and confidential access to social media platform data for research to make progress toward better public mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1096253
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2023


  • data protection
  • Facebook
  • research ethics
  • risk
  • social media


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