The Atlas of Danish Facebook Culture

The Atlas of Danish Facebook Culture is a research project undertaken by the Techno-Anthropology Lab (TANTLab) at the University of Aalborg in Copenhagen. The aim of the project is to understand how Danes have used Facebook as a public space in a six year period between 2012 and 2017. The project is led by Anders Kristian Munk (akm@learning.aau.dk) and Asger Gehrt Olesen (ago@learning.aau.dk). 

 

The purpose of the project

The purpose of the project is to map how public Facebook pages in Denmark post content and how users interact around that content. We want to understanding how different topics generate different kinds of public engagement, how different user groups organize around different issues, and how sources and links from other media are injected into the debate. To do so we provide a combinateion of basemaps, that cover the entire public discourse on 72.000 Danish pages, and case studies that engage specifically with issues like vaccinations programs, food activism, waste disposal or the quality of urban spaces. We conduct these case studies in collaboration with a series of other projects. A subsidiary purpose of these collaborations is to finde practical ways to make insights from social data available to broader social research in ways that are ethically responsible and in compliance with GDPR. 

THE DATASET

The dataset for the Atlas of Danish Facebook Culture was harvested in January 2018 through the open Facebook API for public pages. We do not collect content from personal profiles, closed groups, or other forums where users might have a reasonable expectation of privacy. The dataset is thus strictly limited to self-published material (primarily comments or reactions to posts on public pages). The dataset has been anonymised by scrambling the user ID’s which makes it impossible to directly associate these ID’s with an actual profile on the platform. However, given that we work with public material, and to the extent that users keep their comments visible on public pages, we work under the assumption that data can be de-anonymised. We have therefore registered the dataset with the Danish Data Protection Agency and taken appropriate steps to ensure that the storage and treatment of data is in compliance with the guidelines laid out in the GDPR.


Below is a visual representation of the protocol used to construct the dataset.