User Login    
 + Register
PDQ Cleaning
News : Internet Outraged By Facebook's "Creepy" Mood Experiment
Posted by Randy on 2014/7/1 4:23:36 (244 reads) News by the same author

HONG KONG (CNNMoney) - Everyone has a bad day on occasion. But what if Facebook made it worse -- on purpose, and without telling you?
Click to see original Image in a new window

Internet users have reacted angrily to news that Facebook researchers manipulated the content some users were shown in an attempt to gauge their emotional response.

For one week in early 2012, Facebook changed the content mix in the News Feeds of almost 690,000 users. Some people were shown a higher number of positive posts, while others were shown more negative posts.

The results of the experiment, conducted by researchers from Cornell, the University of California, San Francisco and Facebook, were published this month in the prestigious academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The study found that users that were shown more negative content were slightly more likely to produce negative posts. Users in the positive group responded with more upbeat posts.

So it worked! Facebook was able to successfully change the emotional state of its users. While the mood changes were small, the researchers argued that the findings have major implications given the size and scale of the social network.

Facebook's term of service gives the company permission to conduct this kind of research, but many users have reacted with anger at what they say is a dangerous social experiment. There is no indication that the 690,000 subjects were asked if they would like to take part in the study.

"I wonder if Facebook KILLED anyone with their emotion manipulation stunt," privacy activist Lauren Weinstein said on Twitter. "At their scale and with depressed people out there, it's possible."

Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which of roughly 1,500 available posts will show up in a user's News Feed. The company frequently changes this program to modify the mix of news, personal stories and advertisements seen by users.

The Facebook researcher who designed the experiment, Adam D. I. Kramer, said in a post Sunday that the research was part of an effort to improve the service -- not upset users.

"I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my coauthors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused," Kramer wrote. "In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety."

A Facebook spokesman said the company frequently does research to "improve our services and to make the content people see on Facebook as relevant and engaging as possible."

"We carefully consider what research we do and have a strong internal review process," the spokesman said in a statement. "There is no unnecessary collection of people's data in connection with these research initiatives and all data is stored securely."

Given the company's terms of service, it does not appear that Facebook faces any legal implications. But the guinea pig nature of the experiment -- and the decision to execute it without the explicit consent of participants, raises ethical questions.

Susan Fiske, the Princeton professor who edited the research, said that while the research was "inventive and useful," the outcry suggests that maybe it shouldn't have been carried out.

"I was concerned," she told The Atlantic, "until I queried the authors and they said their local institutional review board had approved it -- and apparently on the grounds that Facebook apparently manipulates people's News Feeds all the time... I understand why people have concerns. I think their beef is with Facebook, really, not the research."

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2014/10/20 10:41:48 - Bosworth Resident Injured After Losing Control Of Vehicle
2014/10/20 10:38:13 - Meadville Resident Injured In Friday Morning Accident
2014/10/20 10:34:46 - Grundy County Circuit Court Holds Busy Session
2014/10/20 10:26:44 - Missouri Days Parade And Band Competition Results
2014/10/20 4:45:39 - Police: Toddler Beaten And Choked To Death For Soiling Pants
2014/10/20 4:40:49 - Obamacare And Wal-Mart Whack Part-Timers' Health Plans
2014/10/20 4:26:58 - Woman Rescued From Chimney Belonging To Man She Met Online
2014/10/20 4:15:33 - Missouri To Vote On Teacher Evaluation Changes
2014/10/20 4:09:23 - Hiker Found Dead Near Central Missouri Creek
2014/10/20 4:04:13 - Expelled Nazis Paid Millions In Social Security
2014/10/20 4:00:49 - Rams Fans And Ferguson Protesters Clash After Rams Game
2014/10/20 3:55:32 - Experts Say Stinging Caterpillars Rare In Missouri
2014/10/17 5:22:23 - Student Fakes Ebola; Did Not Want To Be Dropped From Class
2014/10/17 4:35:42 - Backpack Buddies Receives Grant From ConAgra
2014/10/17 4:28:23 - Authorities: Woman Jumped With Kids, Killing 1
2014/10/17 4:24:14 - Archaeologists Unearth Set Piece From 'Ten Commandments'
2014/10/17 4:15:46 - Police: Missouri Woman Gave Baby To Drug User
2014/10/17 4:13:50 - Man Claims He Found Mouse In Coffee Cup
2014/10/17 4:09:10 - Elected Official Calls Congresswoman 'Ugly As Sin'
2014/10/17 4:05:31 - Gerald Police: Motorist Spots Mountain Lion
2014/10/17 4:00:29 - Livingston County Sheriff Reports On Transports To Department Of Corrections
2014/10/17 3:56:38 - Several Streets To Be Closed For Missouri Day Parade
2014/10/16 10:43:01 - Salvation Army To Provide Food Baskets, Toys For Grundy County
2014/10/16 10:40:12 - Pie Baking Contest, Food Demonstrations Friday At Missouri Days Festival
2014/10/16 10:35:18 - Trenton Resident Arrested
2014/10/16 10:32:23 - Prisoner Escapes From Mercer County Jail
2014/10/16 10:30:00 - Grundy County Circuit Court Has Busy Session
2014/10/16 6:53:14 - Three Hurt In Head-On Collision Northwest Of Milan
2014/10/16 4:36:56 - Elderly Cat Owner Sent To Nursing Home, What Happens Next Is Amazing
2014/10/16 4:18:36 - Police: Missouri Parent Brought Fake Gun To School



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM