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Criticisms of the Facebook psychological experiment Watch

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    In my opinion they can do whatever they want on their website. If people didn't even notice then why the big deal?

    Besides, if people had known about it beforehand, the results could've been skewed.
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    (Original post by Darkphilosopher)
    In my opinion they can do whatever they want on their website. If people didn't even notice then why the big deal?

    Besides, if people had known about it beforehand, the results could've been skewed.
    I don't think you are allowed to do whatever you want on your own website - there are regulations and laws you have to follow. Ethical conduct is a large part of psychology experiments.

    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Ok, quick look on the internet, they are now, as part of the terms of use, allowed to do this for research purposes, but they didn't change it until after the experiments and have now apologised for performing the test.
    So participants were not informed?

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    (Original post by llacerta)
    Err, that's not how research works. You don't go, "oh well, the methods were flawed but since the conclusion is what we expected, we'll go with it". The methods are so flawed that this study is genuinely meaningless. And the effect size they find is equally almost non-existent. See below for some criticisms.




    There are lots of issues, but here are the key things I picked up (from the original paper published in PNAS, here: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full):

    - The idea of 'emotional contagion' is based on the premise that people's moods are influenced by other people's moods. However, no-one's moods were measured in this study. They only measured positive or negative word usage, which includes statements such as "the weather is bad". Is that really a 'negative mood?'

    - The tool they used isn't designed to analyse short sentences, and is usually applied to longer bits of text. In short, it isn't good at analysing Facebook status updates, so even those considered 'positive' or 'negative' may be inaccurately classified. "I am not having a great day" is considered as a positive status because of the use of the word 'great'.

    - The effects they found were statistically tiny.

    - If you want to know more, read this article: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archive...earch-methods/ I've mentioned some of its arguments but it's better at putting across just how bad this study is than I am.

    Thanks for your take on this it's really interesting! What is psych phd focused on?
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    (Original post by Armadillo)
    So participants were not informed?
    That's the problem people are having, they were used as test subjects without thrir knowledge or consent.



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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    If Alex is correct, and it is in the terms of service, then people need to stop crying about it (then again, so many people don't know how to do that). Imo
    Why? They can put whatever they like in the terms of service, it doesn't necessarily make it binding.
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    (Original post by n00)
    Why? They can put whatever they like in the terms of service, it doesn't necessarily make it binding.
    Because when you agree to the ToS you are agreeing that you're ok with the contents, so if you agreed thst they can perform psychological experiments on you then they can, and you have no right to complain about it; if you don't like the ToS then don't agree to them and don't use the service.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Because when you agree to the ToS you are agreeing that you're ok with the contents, so if you agreed thst they can perform psychological experiments on you then they can, and you have no right to complain about it
    :facepalm:Of course you have the right to complain if it's unenforceable.
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    (Original post by Armadillo)
    I don't think you are allowed to do whatever you want on your own website - there are regulations and laws you have to follow. Ethical conduct is a large part of psychology experiments.



    So participants were not informed?

    quote



    Thanks for your take on this it's really interesting! What is psych phd focused on?
    Broadly, I'm looking at the relationship between dopamine and effort-based decision-making in the striatum (a part of the brain thought to analyse cost-benefit decisions, so having to put X amount of effort into getting Y amount of reward).

    And thanks, that's very kind!


    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    Because when you agree to the ToS you are agreeing that you're ok with the contents, so if you agreed thst they can perform psychological experiments on you then they can, and you have no right to complain about it; if you don't like the ToS then don't agree to them and don't use the service.
    I agree with you, Jammy Duel- this is exactly my point of view on the matter.
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    (Original post by n00)
    :facepalm:Of course you have the right to complain if it's unenforceable.
    In what way is it unenforceable?
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    In what way is it unenforceable?
    I dunno in this case, was talking more generally.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22772321
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    Consent is quite important... though it's something that Facebook does anyway (manipulates the posts which you see - which is terrible!)... so in a way is to be expected. Though, the fact that they can manipulate (pick and choose) the posts you see should be underlined by the company. It is somewhat of a breach of trust doing so, IMO.
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    (Original post by llacerta)
    I agree with you, Jammy Duel- this is exactly my point of view on the matter.
    :eek: Scary how many people believe this bull****.

    Ah well might as well take advantage.

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    By quoting or replying to this post you agree to the Terms of n00


























































































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    1. Every quote or reply to this post will result in a charge of 5 bitcoins, to be payable by the replier within 1 hour.
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    3. n00 reserves the right to change these terms whenever and however the **** n00 likes.

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    (Original post by n00)
    :eek: Scary how many people believe this bull****.

    Ah well might as well take advantage.

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    THIS!!! [used the quote button, I owe you nothing ] If you agree to a ToS, you have no right to complain. They always notify users when it's changing and if you're not bothered to read it, don't complain about the product. Facebook is a service that we are not required to use. They have the right to do what they want with it, just as we have the right to simply use something else if we don't agree with the ToS. It was a harmless experiment
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    (Original post by alexschmalex)
    THIS!!! [used the quote button, I owe you nothing ]
    I don't think you read the terms. I'll send you my bitcoin wallet address within the next 32 working days, please be aware late payment charges still apply during this time. Thanks.

    (Original post by alexschmalex)
    If you agree to a ToS, you have no right to complain. They always notify users when it's changing and if you're not bothered to read it, don't complain about the product. Facebook is a service that we are not required to use. They have the right to do what they want with it, just as we have the right to simply use something else if we don't agree with the ToS. It was a harmless experiment
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    That's the problem people are having, they were used as test subjects without thrir knowledge or consent.



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    It strikes me as a bit inconsistent that there's nothing wrong with Facebook altering a newsfeed algorithm simply to experiment or try new things, but when it's for "a study", they have to inform participants?

    I just don't really see what's different about this compared to Facebook just messing around with their algorithms which they presumably do quite often anyway.
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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    It strikes me as a bit inconsistent that there's nothing wrong with Facebook altering a newsfeed algorithm simply to experiment or try new things, but when it's for "a study", they have to inform participants?

    I just don't really see what's different about this compared to Facebook just messing around with their algorithms which they presumably do quite often anyway.
    It's that they have admitted to doing it intentionally for research purposes and that it wasn't just some error in the algorithm causing thst outcome, and IIRC it was for advertising purposes too (somehow).

    Informing people stops it being a totally blind test

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    Don't get why the research would cause controversy at all.


    Check out TSR Movie Madness
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    (Original post by mynameisntbobk)
    Don't get why the research would cause controversy at all.


    Check out TSR Movie Madness
    Since these days delusions about what constitutes rights and what doesn't has got out of hand, we live in a culture that seems to encourage suing people, corporations and governments as soon as you have a vague feeling your idea of what your rights are are infringed upon, people think that it somehow infringed upon their rights.
 
 
 
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