How can we leverage cross-sector data-sharing to improve the lives of children?
Recent years have seen exponential growth in the amount of data being generated and stored around the world. There is increasing recognition that this data can play a key role in solving some of the most difficult public problems we face – including problems facing children around the world. However, much of the potentially useful data is currently privately held and not available for public insights. Data in the form of web clicks, social “likes,” geolocation and online purchases are typically tightly controlled, usually by entities in the private sector. Companies today generate an ever-growing stream of information from our proliferating sensors and devices. Increasingly, they—and various other actors—are asking if there is a way to make this data available for the public good. There is an ongoing search for new models of corporate responsibility in the digital era around data toward the creation of “data collaboratives”.
Social Media Data for Good
The twenty-first century will be challenging on many fronts. From historically catastrophic natural disasters resulting from climate change to inequality to refugee and terrorism crises, it is clear that we need not only new solutions, but new insights and methods of arriving at solutions. Data, and the intelligence gained from it through advances in data science, is increasingly being seen as part of the answer. This report explores the premise that data—and in particular the vast stores of data and the unique analytical expertise held by social media companies—may indeed provide for a new type of intelligence that could help develop solutions to today’s challenges.
In this report, developed with support from Facebook, we focus on an approach to extract public value from social media data that we believe holds the greatest potential: data collaboratives. Data collaboratives are an emerging form of public-private partnership in which actors from different sectors exchange information to create new public value. Such collaborative arrangements, for example between social media companies and humanitarian organizations or civil society actors, can be seen as possible templates for leveraging privately held data towards the attainment of public goals.