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Criticisms of the Facebook psychological experiment Watch

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    Edit* I think a moderator changed the title, this is MORE FOR DISCUSSION than for just criticism of facebook.

    So recently a study done by facebook has come to light
    i think theres nothing wrong with it, although i would like to hear other opinions and i thought it would be a good place to discuss it
    Thoughts and opinions?


    I apologize is theres already a tread for this or if its in the wrong section
    My thoughts and opinions are contained within the video below ^.^
    http://youtu.be/uu8fKEuVVDE
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    I didn't see the big deal, they tell you in the user agreement they can do it, not their fault if nobody reads it :P It's not like anybody noticed anyways so it couldn't have been that bad
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    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, even though it's just confirming a pretty obvious conclusion it's still pretty cool.
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    I do not see any problem with it, even though the experiment that they did came out with obvious results.
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    Don't see the problem - Facebook will presumably be fiddling with their newsfeed algorithms quite frequently anyway.
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    http://www.theguardian.com/technolog...ments-on-users

    Facebook tweaked user posts to make them more positive or negative and then gathered data on the effect of this change on likes!

    An executive at the company has apologised for the experiment which breached ethical guidelines.

    However, the research does look quite interesting - what do you guys think?

    Link to the study = http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full):
    Link to criticisms of the methodology = http://psychcentral.com/blog/archive...earch-methods/

    Thanks
    llacerta! for the links. You can see her summation of criticisms here
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    It's necessary, Facebook is for loons.
    But it is unethical, seriously, to toy with people. I just feel FB wants to take over world so why not start with something like this.
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    A fascinating research area indeed...

    Not sure why people are getting so anal about it though, this research could give some kind of credence to the theory of subliminal advertising.
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    Absolutely disgusting. These large companies think that they're so big they're untouchable and to be honest we allow them to be. Any fine or penalty will be negligible for them; people will continue to use Facebook with minimal to no change in caution; and Facebook will see no deterrent in doing things like this again.

    I mean look at the horse meat issue, the news of the world issue, the BP issue. We continue to shop at tescos (I still don't think the horsemeat scandal has been dealt with - no one cares), news of the world readers have pretty much in their entirety started reading the sun, and BP... Well we're hardly rejecting their fuel.
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    (Original post by LJStudent)
    A fascinating research area indeed...

    Not sure why people are getting so anal about it though, this research could give some kind of credence to the theory of subliminal advertising.
    But it was effectively non-consensual. I don't want to be someone's Guinea pig without giving them permission. What gives Facebook the right to tell me that they're going to use me as a test subject without my permission. I'm sorry but rights like these must supercede any corporation's desire to research.
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    The lack of consent is worrying, but I'm more offended by the methodology used in the experiment...I'm not kidding when I say that, due to methodology issues, the results mean nothing and any significance found (which were at very low levels despite the large sample used) is probably due to chance. So basically they conducted an experiment without consent to produce meaningless research, all to grab headlines.
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    (Original post by Jam')
    But it was effectively non-consensual. I don't want to be someone's Guinea pig without giving them permission. What gives Facebook the right to tell me that they're going to use me as a test subject without my permission. I'm sorry but rights like these must supercede any corporation's desire to research.
    (Original post by llacerta)
    The lack of consent is worrying, but I'm more offended by the methodology used in the experiment...I'm not kidding when I say that, due to methodology issues, the results mean nothing and any significance found (which were at very low levels despite the large sample used) is probably due to chance. So basically they conducted an experiment without consent to produce meaningless research, all to grab headlines.
    (Original post by Jam')
    Absolutely disgusting. These large companies think that they're so big they're untouchable and to be honest we allow them to be. Any fine or penalty will be negligible for them; people will continue to use Facebook with minimal to no change in caution; and Facebook will see no deterrent in doing things like this again.

    I mean look at the horse meat issue, the news of the world issue, the BP issue. We continue to shop at tescos (I still don't think the horsemeat scandal has been dealt with - no one cares), news of the world readers have pretty much in their entirety started reading the sun, and BP... Well we're hardly rejecting their fuel.
    If you have such a problem with people performing blind tests on you I propose you actually read the terms and conditions of things before ticking the box saying that you have and are cool with it.

    As for the methodology, it may have been flawed, but the conclusion was pretty obvious anyway.


    Aslo, FYI, OP, this thread already exists (will get the link when I get up)

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    • Editorial Team
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    (Original post by llacerta)
    The lack of consent is worrying, but I'm more offended by the methodology used in the experiment...I'm not kidding when I say that, due to methodology issues, the results mean nothing and any significance found (which were at very low levels despite the large sample used) is probably due to chance. So basically they conducted an experiment without consent to produce meaningless research, all to grab headlines.
    This is really interested and not something the guardian have really looked at. Could you elaborate a bit as to why that is?
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    They probably did give consent when they ticked the agree to terms & conditions box without reading them.
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    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2727702

    There is the original thread. 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.
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    I was actually disappointed to see the experiment was about advertising. I was expecting some super secret CIA/Derren Brown shizz going on here.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)

    As for the methodology, it may have been flawed, but the conclusion was pretty obvious anyway.


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    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.


    (Original post by Armadillo)
    This is really interested and not something the guardian have really looked at. Could you elaborate a bit as to why that is?
    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.
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    I don't why people are making such a huge fuss about it. It's not like it affected them in any way in real life. Apparently someone tweeted "I'm not a lab rat" to facebook. Talk about being a drama queen!
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    If you have such a problem with people performing blind tests on you I propose you actually read the terms and conditions of things before ticking the box saying that you have and are cool with it.

    As for the methodology, it may have been flawed, but the conclusion was pretty obvious anyway.


    Aslo, FYI, OP, this thread already exists (will get the link when I get up)

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    I don't use Facebook. However, it's a known fact that most people ignore tos which is why there are some things that you can't just hide in a massive legal document without making them absolutely clear elsewhere. Cant remember the word for it.

    But I'm thinking of people who do use Facebook not expecting to be tested on
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    (Original post by Jam')
    I don't use Facebook. However, it's a known fact that most people ignore tos which is why there are some things that you can't just hide in a massive legal document without making them absolutely clear elsewhere. Cant remember the word for it.

    But I'm thinking of people who do use Facebook not expecting to be tested on
    Rather foolish assumption to make.
 
 
 
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