let me make sure about one thing: the posts are anyway published in clear on the platform, as the users who did not respond concerning their consent to research use, have anyway also not issued a request to remove the content they produced and PUBLISHED under creative commons (https://edgeryders.eu/t/a-problem-with-the-ethical-consent-funnel-and-how-to-solve-it/6748/20?u=markomanka)...?
The current solution doesn't seem sensible, let me explain:
1) we can consider the consent as a what it would be formally in medical research, and as such its absence prohibits us to use the data at all. No, we cannot use the codes associated, nor we should be using their topographic information (even in "anonymous" because basically it would take just a bit of work to re-identify the posts by comparing the links and the raw data available on the platform). According to this document -> http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/other/hi/ethics-guide-ethnog-anthrop_en.pdf ethnography should adopt an opt-in stance and refrain from presuming implicit agreement by publicity. This is a huge hit on the networks, I understand... but under this interpretation the solution should be sought with the partners/contributors.
2) we can consider the funnel as an informative process, adhering to what seems to be the use in humanistic research as acknowledged here -> http://aoir.org/reports/ethics.pdf
The idea that the funnel did not exist in a void, but it was accompanied by TOS and plenty other explanations about the functions and uses of this platform and its content was also embraced by our ethical deliverables. In this sense, although a transition towards opt-in is recommended (see above), it is not prescribed, in recognition of the reality that consent is a process, not a point-contract, and that for a long observation like ethnography, community managers and ethnographers on the platform served as part of the consent machinery.
Thus, after discussing with our advisors, we see only two choices:
1 seeking consent or full removal from analyses,
2 full inclusion, in clear.
Since we have not read in full the entirety of the content on the platform, we are not aware of the feelings of the community and of those of the subset we are discussing here. The choice should ultimately be informed by the community managers.
Hoping this is of help...