Author Topic: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.  (Read 4340 times)

Pæs

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Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« on: June 28, 2014, 09:01:42 am »
Okay, not quite secret experiments because they kinda published a paper.

http://www.avclub.com/article/facebook-tinkered-users-feeds-massive-psychology-e-206324

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Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can!

LuciferX

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 09:23:18 am »
That's some second rate manipulation right there.  Get back to me when they start re-wording your updates, just after you post them, in front of your face.  Let me know if you're still all rockin' those spoilers, then... :horrormirth:
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Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 01:53:55 pm »
Huh. I guess fuck informed consent, right?
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2014, 02:27:09 pm »
Huh. I guess fuck informed consent, right?

Informed consent is for LOSER NERDS who rely on grant money to do their science.

LuciferX

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2014, 05:49:48 pm »
Huh. I guess fuck informed consent, right?

Informed consent is for LOSER NERDS who rely on grant money to do their science.

How do you expect us to obtain accurate results without double-blind conditions?
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Pæs

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2014, 10:55:31 pm »
Huh. I guess fuck informed consent, right?

YOU GAVE INFORMED CONSENT WHEN YOU CLICKED "AGREE TO TERMS" NEENER NEENER INCLUDED YOU IN MY STUDY ON A TECHNICALITY - Facebook

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2014, 04:31:15 am »
Thanks for undermining real social scientists, Facebook. Good job setting popular trust in researchers back 55 years. Awesome.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Raz Tech

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2014, 04:41:23 am »
And all this for something that should be apparent without experiments.  Of course if you show someone a bunch of negative things they'll respond in a negative manner.

Also "Facebook Scientists"?  Is that a thing now?

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2014, 04:46:04 am »
And all this for something that should be apparent without experiments.  Of course if you show someone a bunch of negative things they'll respond in a negative manner.

Also "Facebook Scientists"?  Is that a thing now?

Yeah, it's kind of to real scientists as "Facebook Friends" are to real friends.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


xXRon_Paul_42016Xxx(weed)

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2014, 04:48:34 am »
And all this for something that should be apparent without experiments.  Of course if you show someone a bunch of negative things they'll respond in a negative manner.

Also "Facebook Scientists"?  Is that a thing now?

Yeah, it's kind of to real scientists as "Facebook Friends" are to real friends.

Putting PhD in "Facebook Science" on my next resume.

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2014, 04:59:32 am »
Huh. I guess fuck informed consent, right?

Well, I hate Zuckerberg, so mission accomplished.   :lulz:
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Cramulus

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2014, 01:37:30 pm »
yep. we all gave informed consent in the user agreement.

The paper is interesting - it's part of a body of research called Affect Control. There's been tons of research on this stuff, but facebook allowed scientists to study these effects in real-time.



 I'm really curious about a few things

--They didn't look at frequency of use... I'm curious how strongly this effect is correlated with frequent facebook usage. If there's a strong correlation, you could minimize the emotional impact of facebook by limiting or maybe staggering your usage.

--To be clear, the study doesn't measure the actual emotional impact of seeing all these positive or negative updates--it quantifies emotion via word analysis of status updates. So its only measure of how happy/sad you are is the content of your status updates.

So it's possible that people in a social network surrounded by positive posts follow suit and post other positive status updates--but aren't significantly affected outside of that moment when they're staring at facebook.

I'd be curious to see a follow-up where they measure participant's emotions at various points during the day, using some other measuring tool.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2014, 08:52:03 pm »
yep. we all gave informed consent in the user agreement.

Not in a sense any Institutional Review Board would recognize or accept as ethical. And very clearly not in any way the NIH would consider ethical. Obviously, Facebook isn't held to NIH standards, but still, performing mood manipulation experiments on a population that could not by any reasonable expectation be considered properly informed or to have given actual consent is shitty and unethical.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 08:53:49 pm by The Right Reverend Nigel »
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2014, 09:04:43 pm »
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/06/facebook_unethical_experiment_it_made_news_feeds_happier_or_sadder_to_manipulate.html

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Facebook’s methodology raises serious ethical questions. The team may have bent research standards too far, possibly overstepping criteria enshrined in federal law and human rights declarations. “If you are exposing people to something that causes changes in psychological status, that’s experimentation,” says James Grimmelmann, a professor of technology and the law at the University of Maryland. “This is the kind of thing that would require informed consent.”

Ah, informed consent. Here is the only mention of “informed consent” in the paper: The research “was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research.”

That is not how most social scientists define informed consent.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/06/29/Facebook-Experimented-on-Users-Without-Their-Knowledge

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Criticism of the study is based on the fact that the users were unaware they were being studied and had not given their consent. In studies conducted by universities and other institutions which receive federal funding, the process entails answering to institutional review boards (IRBs), which in turn derive their judgments from ethical standards set such as the Common Rule. One of the pillars of the Common Rule is that subjects must consent to be included in an experiment.

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Jamie Guillory would not elaborate to The Atlantic on the subject, instead asserting that Facebook preferred to deal with the matter. A Facebook spokesman did respond to The Atlantic’s inquiries by stating, "We carefully consider what research we do and have a strong internal review process. There is no unnecessary collection of people’s data in connection with these research initiatives, and all data is stored securely.”

Fiske agreed, citing the fact that unlike universities and federal agencies, Facebook is not financially supported by the federal government. She said:
A lot of the regulation of research ethics hinges on government supported research, and of course Facebook's research is not government supported, so they're not obligated by any laws or regulations to abide by the standards. But I have to say that many universities and research institutions and even for-profit companies use the Common Rule as a guideline anyway. It's voluntary. You could imagine if you were a drug company, you'd want to be able to say you'd done the research ethically because the backlash would be just huge otherwise.

Upshot: "We're a corporation, we do whatever we want. You agreed when you created your account that your data could be used in research, therefore you agreed to active and deliberate manipulation of your emotional state".

Yeah, Facebook, once again, thanks for shitting in the pool of science.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 09:07:26 pm by The Right Reverend Nigel »
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Cain

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Re: Facebook conducting SECRET EXPERIMENTS on users.
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2014, 10:05:06 am »
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Facebook is not financially supported by the federal government

Uh-huhSure.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 10:31:16 am by Cain »