Source Publication (e.g., journal title)
JMIR Public Health Surveill
Background: Social media can be a useful strategy for recruiting hard-to-reach, stigmatized populations into research studies; however, it may also introduce risks for participant and research team exposure to negative comments. Currently, there is no published formal social media recruitment and monitoring guidelines that specifically address harm reduction for social media recruitment of marginalized populations.
Objective: The purpose of this research study was to investigate the utility, successes, challenges, and positive and negative consequences of using targeted Facebook advertisements as a strategy to recruit transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people into a research study.
Methods: TGNC adults living in the Southeast Unites States were recruited via targeted Facebook advertisements over two cycles in April and June 2017. During cycle 1, researchers only used inclusion terms to recruit the target population. During cycle 2, the social media recruitment and monitoring protocol and inclusion and exclusion terms were used.
Results: The cycle 1 advertisement reached 8518 people and had 188 reactions, comments, and shares but produced cyberbullying, including discriminatory comments from Facebook members. Cycle 2 reached fewer people (6976) and received 166 reactions, comments, and shares but produced mostly positive comments.
Conclusions: Researchers must consider potential harms of using targeted Facebook advertisements to recruit hard-to-reach and stigmatized populations. To minimize harm to participants and research staff, researchers must preemptively implement detailed social media recruitment and monitoring guidelines for monitoring and responding to negative feedback on targeted Facebook advertisements.
Russomanno, Jennifer; Patterson, Joanne G.; and Jabson Tree, Jennifer M., "Social Media Recruitment of Marginalized, Hard-to-Reach Populations: Development of Recruitment and Monitoring Guidelines" (2019). Public Health Publications and Other Works.