Jun 29, 2014

How do you feel about Facebook performing psychology experiments on users without consent?

Facebook was helping psychology researchers determine whether being exposed to disproportionately positive or negative posts in peoples’ newsfeed caused them to in turn be more negative or positive. Turns out, yes, seeing more negative posts tended to cause people to in turn be more negative with their later posts, and in turn seeing more positive posts caused them to be more positive. Ok, not surprising (ever read the comments on Fox News?) but mildly interesting. However, I’m not happy being made to dance like a puppet without being told. What do you think - was Facebook being a good guy by helping researchers, or a jerk for manipulating users without telling them?

I loathe Facebook. I detest it. I closed my account a while back and I'm glad I did. This latest revelation of experiments just reconfirms my decision to get away from Facebook altogether, it's flat out evil of them to do something like this.

Here's my take on why I closed my Facebook account, and remember it was written long before this experiment was done or I would have included that as a reason too!


its been awhile since I was in college, but one of the eethical constraints when studying human subjects was that they give informed consent. Obviously, the people being used in this research did not,  and it is hard not to feel resentment when a company manipulates you emotional reactions just to see how you will react. That said, I'm not really surprised that Facebook did it, I'm just surprised that the researchers thought it was ethical.


Let's face it,  companies including Facebook manipulate users constantly. They are constantly making changes and gauging the reactions. Then they make more changes and repeat the process. So when I think about this logically,  my reaction is that for once they were trying to do something in the pursuit of knowledge instead of profits. However, my emotional reaction is less charitable.  

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