Monday, June 30, 2014

Facebook emotion experiment sparks criticism

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 Facebook said it conducted the study to gauge users' response to content
Facebook is facing criticism after it emerged it had conducted a psychology experiment on nearly 700,000 users without their knowledge.

The test saw Facebook "manipulate" news feeds to control which emotional expressions the users were exposed to.

The research was done in collaboration with two US universities to gauge if "exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviours".

Facebook said there was "no unnecessary collection of people's data".

"None of the data used was associated with a specific person's Facebook account," the social networking giant added.

Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco were involved in the study.
Ability to manipulate?

They are manipulating material from people's personal lives and I am worried about the ability of Facebook and others to manipulate people's thoughts in politics or other areas.”
Jim Sheridan Labour MP
But some have criticised the way the research was conducted and raised concerns over the impact such studies could have. 

"Let's call the Facebook experiment what it is: a symptom of a much wider failure to think about ethics, power and consent on platforms," Kate Crawford posted on Twitter.

Lauren Weinstein tweeted: "Facebook secretly experiments on users to try make them sad. What could go wrong?"
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