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A Critical Exploration of Communication Practices Around “Refugee Apps”

by Dennis Nguyen & Sergül Nguyen

Digital media serve manifold purposes in the context of forced migration connected to communication, transition, resource allocation, and integration. Many apps and platforms rely on user data. However, app providers do not always clearly communicate what data are collected for which purposes. Data- and privacy policies should convey this information, but they rarely increase clarity and transparency.

This can create vulnerabilities for users and connects to questions of data literacy: how much they understand about data practices and how organizations can inform them better. The qualitative study explores ten apps and uses the walkthrough method in combination with a content analysis of data policies. It charts how apps communicate about data practices and consequences for privacy. The findings imply that many apps fail to address these issues efficiently. Organizations need to critically revise their communication strategies with the goal to create transparency and build data literacy among users.

The manuscript is currently under peer-review and we will share a link to the final publication here.

Photo by Markus Spiske 

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