Using online video data for research can entail complex issues of research ethics. Only because a video is accessible on public platforms such as YouTube or TikTok doesn’t mean that the people visible in videos gave consent to being filmed and the video being uploaded. A recent example of this was reported today in this article in The Guardian:

A Melbourne woman says she feels “dehumanised” after being filmed without consent for a “random act of kindness” TikTok that went viral.
The video shows TikTok creator Harrison Pawluk approaching the woman, Maree, in a public shopping centre. He asked her to hold a bouquet of flowers while he put on a jacket.
Before Maree could return the bouquet, Pawluk wished her a good day and walked away. Maree’s shocked reaction was caught on camera.

Rafqa Touma / The Guardian Jul 14, 2022

For further reporting on the subject, see this article. If you are interested in issues of research ethics for online video data, you can check out our article “YouTube, Google, Facebook: 21st Century Online Video Research and Research Ethics“, as well as Chapter 4 of our book “Video Data Analysis: How to Use 21st Century Video in the Social Sciences.”