Saturday, June 28, 2014

Facebook users, how does it feel to be a guinea-pig?


That's clearly what you are in Facebook's opinion - experimental subjects, just like rats in a laboratory.  (Bold underlined text is my emphasis.)

Over 600,000 Facebook users have taken part in a psychological experiment organised by the social media company, without their knowledge.

Facebook altered the tone of the users' news feed to highlight either positive or negative posts from their friends, which were seen on their news feed.

They then monitored the users' response, to see whether their friends' attitude had an impact on their own.

. . .

Facebook were able to carry out the experiment because all users have to tick a box agreeing to their terms and conditions. These include "internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement."

In the study, the authors point out that they stayed within the remit of the agreement by using a machine to pick out positive and negative posts, meaning no user data containing personal information was actually viewed by human researchers.

There's more at the link.

I'm sure you're happy to know that agreeing to such an innocuous-sounding clause in Facebook's service contract might expose you to being the uninformed subject of psychological experiments.  Is that creepy, or what?  It's yet another reason why, IMHO, no-one in their right minds should be on Facebook at all.  They treat you like a laboratory rat in so many ways that it's become almost dehumanizing.




Peter

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well.... I don't facebook, twitter, get tracked by cell phone(don't carry one) or use "Wi-Fi". If all you vain and lazy people would get over yourselves, free yourselves of the chain of control you have allowed to be forged around you...But wait that would mean you couldn't tell the whole planet about your dogs latest crap in the yard and think of yourselves as the most important and SPECIAL person in all history...so never mind. Go back to sleep little brain.---Ray

Borepatch said...

I can't remember the last time I posted something to Facebook. They've been wretched at privacy for a long, long time.

And interestingly, I get email notifications when family post things, and so I don't ever have to log in. Not entirely sure about the privacy implications here, but clearly less of a concern.

Old NFO said...

Another reason NOT to use it...

Anonymous said...

After getting stalked through a university computer system, I've foresworn all (anti)social media. E-mail and my blog are enough mischief.

LittleRed1

Rolf said...

I've been saying that the social media websites are data-mining operations with YOU (quantified and cross-linked) as the product since MySpace was the hot new thing. Don't have an account, likely never will.

FrankC said...

I could never figure out how to use it. Joined it to see BIL's photos, but never found out how.

Anonymous said...

You're on the net right now

Wouter de Waal said...

I would say by all means use facebook, but be aware that you are potentially the product.

But then, I grew up on Douglas Adams, you may call me Benjy.