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    Can social media help us investigate migration?

    CPC PhD student Francesco Rampazzo is using social media data to provide a clearer picture of the numbers of migrants in the UK. International migration to the UK has become a hot topic both in research and in the media, but there are still huge limitations on the availability of timely data for measuring migration. Detailed data on migrants’ characteristics are also much needed for producing accurate statistics and informing policy. Facebook is a nonrepresentative source of data for the whole population of a country, but it is a digital source updated in real time, with numerous possibilities to filter information.

    The aim of this project is to create the first longitudinal geolocated dataset from Facebook’s Advertising Platform through a weekly collection from mid-December 2017 onwards for two years. It also aims to give a weekly picture of European migration following the 2016 referendum. The analysis, supervised by Jakub Bijak and Agnese Vitali, will complement traditional data sources provided by the ONS, which will be also used for comparisons.

    “Using our novel approach, it will be possible to nowcast migration, and provide a more timely picture of its trends using Facebook data.” Says Mr Rampazzo. “Our preliminary results from Facebook are promising, showing proportions close to the ONS estimates. We believe that this is an encouraging and new direction for future work, not just in the UK, but at a global level.”

    Posted 01/02/2019 10:56