posted at 11:51
Author: Colin Daileda
Anger Builds Over Facebooks Emotion-Manipulation Study
A recently published study that manipulated Facebook News Feeds has sparked outrage among users who are criticizing the ethics behind the experiment, which was conducted by Facebook and several universities. The researchers did not inform users that they were manipulating News Feeds, and many questioned the study's ethics. One could argue that Facebook's user agreement provides enough informed consent, but it doesn't mention data manipulation, and many are perturbed at the idea that the social network can mess with their News Feeds without their knowledge. Standard procedure is as follows: "When psychologists conduct research ... they obtain the informed consent of the individual or individuals using language that is reasonably understandable to that person." Facebook's data-use policy runs nearly 10,000 words, but it does mention that user information can be studied. The Facebook study does not mention telling the 689,003 users that they were participants - even after the experiment was over. "None of the data used was associated with a specific person's Facebook account," a Facebook spokesperson told Forbes. Susan Fiske, a Princeton University psychology professor who edited the study for publication, told The Atlantic, "I'm still thinking about it and I'm a little creeped out." Facebook reportedly manipulates user's News Feeds all the time - something Fiske discovered when she asked the study's authors about the ethics behind what they had done.

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