posted at 18:50
Author: Adario Strange
Facebook Responds to Negative Reactions to Its Experiment on Users
The furor surrounding Facebook's decision to conduct an experiment that secretly manipulated the News Feed of some users to study emotion contagion reached a peak this weekend, with many calling the act creepy at best, and downright unethical at worst. Although the editor of the study recently admitted to being "a little creeped out" by the way in which the study was conducted, Facebook itself had not offered any detailed comment on the matter - until now. In a public post on Facebook, one of the co-authors of the study, Adam D. I. Kramer, a member of Facebook's Core Data Science Team, finally responded to the study's critics. While Kramer's initial statement regarding the company's reasoning behind the study will be a welcome clarification for some, there's still the matter of most import to the study's critics: involving users in a psychological experiment without their consent. After summarizing the study's methodology, then emphasizing that "Nobody's posts were 'hidden,' they just didn't show up on some loads of Feed," Kramer then wades, in indirect fashion, into the delicate territory of how Facebook views the matter of user experiments on the site. Rather than directly address the widely voiced concerns regarding the study's involvement of users in an experiment without their knowledge, Kramer instead apologizes for the paper's "Description" of the experiment. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request from Mashable for comment on the military's reported involvement in the study or the company's stance with regards to user concerns about being unknowing participants in a psychological experiment. What is clear is that Facebook, or at least the team behind the study, isn't happy with the negative reactions to the experiment.

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