Facebook's Emotion Study Comes Under Fire

By

Facebook is the king of the social media sites, and it was apparently also trying to become the king of the Internet social experiments when it carried out an emotion study of its users. Unfortunately, the way the social media site carried out the emotion study has come under fire from many scientists in the field, citing among other things a lack of “informed consent.”

Facebook manipulated the newsfeeds of more than 700,000 users as a way to see if it would affect user emotions. The scientists who have weighed in on Facebook’s little study say the way they carried it out broke quite a few ethics rules. James Grimmelmann, a professor of law at the University of Maryland, posted a recent blog post that Facebook didn’t allow users to decide whether they would actually take part in the study.

Image via Shutterstock

Grimmelmann added the study actually harmed users by changing their mood. The scientists added that this particular move was even bad for Facebook. One of the social media sites’ researchers, Adam Kramer posted a rather lengthy defense of why the site did what it did. Kramer says the site carried out the study the way it did, "because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product." He said that he and his colleagues "felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out."

The experiment worked by hiding a small percentage of emotional words from people’s news feeds to see what the reactions to the posts would be and how many likes they would get from other users. This is hardly the first time that Facebook has messed with its users’ settings, but it is the first time the social media site has gone out of its way to trick its users—It is the manner in which the site did it that has researchers up in arms.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Writer

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Coding and Invention Made Fun

By: Special Guest    10/12/2018

SAM is a series of kits that integrates hardware and software with the Internet. Combining wireless building blocks composed of sensors and actors con…

Read More

Facebook Marketplace Now Leverages AI

By: Paula Bernier    10/3/2018

Artificial intelligence is changing the way businesses interact with customers. Facebook's announcement this week is just another example of how this …

Read More

Oct. 17 Webinar to Address Apache Spark Benefits, Tools

By: Paula Bernier    10/2/2018

In the upcoming webinar "Apache Spark: The New Enterprise Backbone for ETL, Batch and Real-time Streaming," industry experts will offer details on clo…

Read More

It's Black and White: Cybercriminals Are Spending 10x More Than Enterprises to Control, Disrupt and Steal

By: Cynthia S. Artin    9/26/2018

In a stunning new report by Carbon Black, "Hacking, Escalating Attacks and The Role of Threat Hunting" the company revealed that 92% of UK companies s…

Read More

6 Challenges of 5G, and the 9 Pillars of Assurance Strategy

By: Special Guest    9/17/2018

To make 5G possible, everything will change. The 5G network will involve new antennas and chipsets, new architectures, new KPIs, new vendors, cloud di…

Read More