Internet dating manipulation
Put it all together, and you have a pretty clear causal relationship.The results were published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences, which, for what it’s worth, is a pretty prestigious journal.What looks ethical to an IRB may not look ethical to the public, at large.That discrepancy rarely comes up when Facebook runs experiments for its own internal use, of course, but when the network publishes research — as in this case — other standards may have to apply.Whether the study was ethical, on the other hand, is definitely up for debate.
When you see more negative things, you post more negative things. In all likelihood, Facebook didn’t manipulate your feelings personally.During the experiment, half of those subjects saw fewer positive posts than usual, while half of them saw fewer negative ones.To evaluate how that change affected mood, researchers also tracked the number of positive and negative words in subjects’ status updates during that week-long period.Some researchers have already called for reforms on the way tech and academia play together, with most of the outrage centering on this issue of IRBs.“There’s not an absolute answer,” the study’s editor, Susan Fiske, told The Atlantic.
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But it’s hard to see, frankly, why that would make any difference, since it did include the line about data analysis and testing.