Meta Partners with the Center for Open Science to Share Data to Study Well-being Topics

Jan. 29, 2024

Using innovative methods from the open science movement to promote rigor and transparency of research, Meta and the Center for Open Science will pilot a new approach to industry-academia partnerships for accessing social media data. 

Menlo Park, CA and Charlottesville, VA - Meta is partnering with the Center for Open Science (COS) on a pilot program to share certain privacy-preserving social media data with a select group of academic researchers to study topics related to well-being. Social media companies, like Meta, have an opportunity to contribute to the public’s scientific understanding of how different factors may or may not impact well-being and inform productive conversations about how to help people thrive. 

This pilot is designed to support that goal, and it will use new types of research processes that have been popularized in the open science movement, such as preregistration and early peer review. This offers a promising innovation on past models of industry-academia partnerships to improve access to important data for academic research.

COS champions rigor and transparency-enhancing practices when considering sharing important data to improve the credibility and reproducibility of research findings. For example, the Registered Reports publishing model that will be used in this pilot involves academic researchers submitting a proposed research question and methodology for peer review prior to observing the research outcomes. This process can enhance rigor by requiring authors to plan and articulate their methodology clearly, and early on. It also engages independent experts to peer review the question and methodology before the study is conducted. Moreover, accepted submissions receive a commitment to publish the results regardless of the outcome, not just those that confirm one’s hypothesis or support a prevailing theory. 

“By spelling out the research question and analysis plan prior to observing the outcomes, the Registered Reports model promotes precommitment to how the questions will be tested and the evidence will be evaluated, and reporting all findings regardless of what outcomes are observed,” noted Andrew Tyner, Principal Research Scientist at COS.

In this pilot, COS will serve as an independent third party and invite a select group of researchers to submit Registered Report proposals. The proposals will include research plans looking at the potential relationship between well-being topics and social media, as well as a request for specific social media data from Meta. If the proposals are accepted after an independent scientific review for quality and rigor, researchers will analyze the relevant data shared by Meta. To advance transparency and enable reproducibility of the findings, the proposals, scientific reviews, analyses, and final reports will be publicly available. In sharing any type of user data, Meta and COS will collaborate to implement protective privacy measures. 

“At Meta, we want to do our part to contribute to the scientific community’s understanding of how different factors may or may not relate to people’s well-being. We’re committed to doing this in a way that respects the privacy of people who use our apps. COS has a proven track record of supporting scientific rigor and complex open-science projects, and we look forward to partnering with them on this pilot. We also hope it can provide a model for other companies to take similar steps,” said Curtiss Cobb, PhD, Vice President of Research at Meta.

The two-year pilot is in the early planning stages and is expected to begin in the coming months. Meta and COS are optimistic about the ways in which this partnership could serve as a model for other companies to make data more accessible for rigorous and transparent academic research. 

“This partnership between Meta and COS signifies a significant step towards fostering a culture of openness and collaboration between academia and industry and aims to set new standards for best practices in sharing proprietary data among the research community, ultimately benefiting the public interest,” said Tim Errington, COS’s Senior Director of Research. 

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About Meta
Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.

Meta Contact: Liza Crenshaw or (650) 334-5823

About the Center for Open Science
Founded in 2013, COS is a nonprofit culture change organization with a mission to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research. COS pursues this mission by building communities around open science practices, supporting metascience research, and developing and maintaining free, open source software tools, including the Open Science Framework (OSF). Learn more at

COS Contact: Alexis Rice or (434) 207-2971

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