Software // Social
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6/30/2014
01:05 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
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Facebook Researchers Toy With Emotions: Wake Up

A study about the effect of posts on Facebook users' emotions outraged some people. I call it a public service: Now you understand what ill-informed consent means.

(Source: Pixabay)
(Source: Pixabay)

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Number 6
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Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
7/2/2014 | 9:30:11 AM
IRB
"Academia may have standards for treating people with dignity and serving the common good,..."

Yes, they're called Institutional Review Boards- IRB's, and were put in place in part because of problems like the Tuskegee study. Look them up.

So a good question to ask is whether and why the University of Michigan's IRB approved this.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 6:53:15 PM
Re: That was an apology?
Really, was there any real impact from this? Yes it was a breach of trust but it's not as if tilting the New Feed balance from cats videos to reports of accidents and the like caused a spike in suicides. Until there's proof Facebook's experiment did harm, we would be better off working about other proven depressants like drugs and alcohol that do actually play a role in harm.

 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 5:43:42 PM
Re: That was an apology?
Maybe I'm just hopelessly cynical, but you get what you pay for. Facebook isn't maintaining all these data centers out of the goodness of its corporate personhood heart. It's using us and our data. If people don't like that, they can go back to personal phone calls and letters. Gasp!
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 5:10:28 PM
That was an apology?
Adam Kramer's apology for "all the anxiety the study caused" seems to overlook the fact that most reseasrchers seek the consent of the researched in advance, as opposed to pointing out their aniety after finding themselves the subject of research. Each day the faux apologies -- apologetic sounding words that place blame anywhere but on the apologist -- get a little worse. 
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 4:46:10 PM
Re: Parody
I agree Rob - If you hadn't said it, I was going to!
Lorna Garey
IW Pick
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 3:05:46 PM
Re: EXACTLY
Careful, someone might cite you as a source of info on the NSA's nefarious plot to make Facebook users sad and thus increase sales of Budweiser, which as everyone knows is a front for the FBI.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 3:00:22 PM
Re: EXACTLY
Just wait til we learn the NSA was also involved in the experiment. Mwahaha.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2014 | 6:33:19 PM
Re: Violation of user trust -- or what's left of it
I'm surprised this study passed the muster of an internal review board (which is required for peer-reviewed academic publishing). My wife has to jump through all kinds of hoops to consent from interview subjects for her research. Seems like if you're going to mess around with people's mental states, you'd need a consent form that isn't buried in a long terms-of-service notice that people don't read and may have clicked an agreement years and years ago.
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
6/30/2014 | 6:12:11 PM
Re: Violation of user trust -- or what's left of it
There should be an app that scans headlines & finds the associated Snopes link, if it exists.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
6/30/2014 | 5:13:51 PM
Re: Violation of user trust -- or what's left of it
That's a fair point. Though I'd argue sensationalized headlines are not as devious as what Facebook did. The reader can at least find out pretty quickly if they've been duped just by reading the story. But it's the same principle.  
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