In many ways, Facebook owns you. When you clicked that little TOS box, (terms of service), you agreed to let Facebook use your content and photos. Now they have done something that I feel is ethically wrong. You and your friends, and followers may of been part of an experiment conducted by manipulating your feeds. Facebook manipulated over 683,000 of it’s users feeds to see how people reacted to either positive or negative posts from their friends. Conducting secret psychology experiment on users’ emotions. You can add this worry to your lack of control and privacy online with Facebook.
Facebook has conducted a secret massive psychology experiment on its users to find out how they respond to positive and negative messages – without telling participants.
The article above is from the Telegraph, UK and it is quite detailed. If you would like to read it, it has what is known as a “paywall” in front of it. The work around for that is open your browser in privacy mode or with Chrome, it is called incognito, so that is a good tip for you today. How to read protected articles online.
Facebook isn’t the only social media site to raise red flags for its handling of information recently. Buzzfeed has been accused of keeping user data gleaned from its popular quizzes, which are often shared on social media networks like Facebook.
Many Facebook users have little understanding of the way their personal data is used by the website, or what other parties may have access to that information. According to a Consumer Reports survey conducted before the experiment was reported, “only 37 percent of Facebook users say they have used the site’s privacy tools to customize how much information apps are allowed to see.”
It has emerged that Facebook first conducted research into the impact of posts on its users’ moods for 1,180 days between January 2009 and March 2012, look at the data of ‘all Facebook users in the 100 most populous US cities’, as reported by The Telegraph earlier this year. This just came out in the last few days. At first FB said it was only for one week! Obviously there is much more going on here than they want to tell the public.
They have manipulated your feeds to conduct a psychology experiment. How do you feel about that? Do you think this is ethical? They are treating their users like rats in a maze. I am not a fan of social media. I have always felt there are too many privacy rights at stake. In 1998 I was going to middle schools and high schools speaking to local PTA’s about online safety and myspace about how to keep your kids safe online. What I saw coming was a carelessness that people were showing by putting all kinds of personal information online. Today I never ceased to be amazed at how much people post online. Parent putting photos of their half naked kids on Instagram, and all social media. Their kids in the bath, in bathing suits and so forth. Bad idea- Mommy bloggers and parents and grandparents. Do you have any idea about the pedophiles and weirdos looking for photos like these of your kids and what they do with those photos? If these people could see that, and the dark world that is very real out there with the sickos, they would never do that again. That is just one aspect to worry about. Next came Google maps, showing photos of our homes, and cars and yards. Then we have all the underage kids using Facebook and very careless with it. They have no idea what they are putting out there and that fact is could haunt them for decades. In addition to the kids meeting older strange men that trolled for them online and so many stories like this today that are frighting. Everyone is responsible for what they put online and how they put out information. Facebook is a good networking tool, but if they are manipulating our communication and feeds with our followers, friends and business contacts, that is violating the spirit of what they do. This experiment was conducted in 2012, and the only reason it came out now, is the study was just published. I find this gravely disturbing. I would love to know how many other studies and what other manipulations have been going on with our Facebook accounts since then? Wouldn’t you? I am sure this was not a one time thing. We are all dollar signs to these social media companies. Now Facebook has share holders to answer too, and they need to make a profit. What do you think? If you are a Facebook user, how do you feel about the fact that it’s possible your posting feeds and your followers and those whom you may follow could be manipulated in this way by the company for research? Please leave a comment below.
Here is another great article I found on how to fix facebook privacy intrusion.
This is creating so much negative publicity that Facebook has a representative talking to the press.
Here is some of what he is saying.
Adam Kramer, Facebook data scientist and co-author of the study, has posted an explanation of the motivation behind the research, which he says serves as Facebook’s statement on the matter.
“The reason we did this research is because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product,” says Kramer. “We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out. At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook.”
“IN HINDSIGHT, THE RESEARCH BENEFITS OF THE PAPER MAY NOT HAVE JUSTIFIED ALL OF THIS ANXIETY.
Really? Ya think so? Does this statement give you any reassurance about Facebook and what they can do with your information and account? I would like to know how many more of these kind of “experiments” and research have been done since 2012. Because you know there are more. We already know they use our account for all kinds of advertising experiments, and I am sure much more than we know. It will be interesting to see what else comes light after this brouhaha.
Update: 7/4/2014 I have been keeping track of new articles with new viewpoints or that go deeper on this issue all week. This is not one of those stories that is dying down.
Here is a list of stories with good information you may be interested in reading.
Facebok Experiments Had Few Limits
Data Science Lab Conducted Tests on Users With Little Oversight
Facebook under investigation for News Feed Experiment: Watchdog to assess if the firm breached data regulations
If you read a great article about this topic, feel free to leave the link in the comment sections for other to find.