Thursday, July 3, 2014

More on that Facebook Experiment

Hello there.  I hope sometime during all the holiday weekend observations, celebrations, and cookouts, someone will read this!

It's difficult to get that facebook experiment out of my mind. I am just gong to mention in passing facebook's non-apology apology which I would imagine most of you have read about.  Apologizing for poor communication?  Get real!  It would be funny if it wasn't so infuriating.

Today I received an e-mail from the National Academy of Sciences which published the study, which linked me to their statement.  I think a very legitimate question would be: why would they ever publish the study when they had concerns over practices of informed consent and opt-out?  I'm extremely upset at the suggestion that because facebook is private, their terms of service give them a pass to turn users into lab rats.  It was mentioned in the e-mail I received that the NAS would be allowing reader comments on that facebook experiment article in the next few days.  I'll update this post with a link to that. I think everyone should really let them have it!

The American Psychological Association posted a brief statement on their site just reiterating their policy on informed consent, supposedly in response to this study. That's it.  No specific concerns expressed,  no suggestion they might in any way review this.  

There has also been some discussion if this infamous study received government, specifically, Dep't of Defense, funding.  Seems at this point unclear, although: the Cornell author had received DoD Minerva Initiative research funding in the past and another Cornell researcher is currently receiving funding.  Here's a fairly decent overview, with a link to the Minerva Initiative site.

I know this will be hard to "hear", but I think it is probably time for users to leave facebook.  I know folks get hooked, but I really feel the only way to make a statement is to leave.  Fewer users, less advertising revenue MIGHT wake them up.


You can find the full text of the study, the expression of concern - and now comments here.

But be warned, I think they're using Discus for comments and I believe it's a pretty notorious tracker. 


EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed a complaint about this study with the FTC. Thanks for the link, Lyra1!


  1. Bless your heart. Whether you believe it or not, your post at the Intersect brought me here. Keep it up. You are not alone. I mean it.

  2. Thanks so much. Stop back often :-)

  3. Note to Chronicle:

    You will be welcome to post here, but only if you can post with civility and without profanity.


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