ICA San Diego 2017 - The Social Shaping of DTC Genetic Testing: Sentiment Analysis of 23andMe on Twitter

ICA San Diego 2017 - The Social Shaping of DTC Genetic Testing: Sentiment Analysis of 23andMe on Twitter

Scholars, educators, regulators, pundits and other observers are advocating for regulation and oversight of ‘direct-to-consumer’ genomic testing (DTC). As a result, the technology has been subject of much public and regulatory controversy. In this article, we explore the sentiment about the DTC company, 23andMe. To describe the nature of the public opinion, we collected Twitter data of over 2000 tweets for a quantitative content analysis and qualitative framing analysis. Our analysis reviews particular frames that seem to underlie social media exchanges related to the company and its technology. Our study shows that people are largely positive towards DTC genomics and 23andMe. We argue that these frames create meaning and play a role in how a technology is interpreted by its users. As social research becomes increasingly driven by large data sets and internet-based research methods, we offer a timely, non-invasive analysis of emerging values associated with DTC genetic testing.

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Alberto Lusoli

May 27, 2017
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