Marketing News

Facebook Experiments On Some Of Its Users

Sonja Dyess Posted by Sonja Dyess on July 1, 2014

For those of you that watch or read the news, you may have heard about Facebook’s latest endeavor. For one week they conducted an experiment on some of its users, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences it was 689,003 to be exact.  They wanted to see how their users responded to negative posts versus positive posts. Researchers wanted to know how it affected their mood and how it would affect what they posted.

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If the user saw only positive posts, would the user more likely post positive updates and if they only saw negative posts, would they only post negative posts? This is what Facebook was trying to research. Facebook did this by controlling what you see. The controlling of “what you see” has been something they have been doing for a little while now. They say it is so you see only what you want to see; hence not giving you the real Facebook experience, in my opinion. They only allowed positive posts or negative posts into your feed and then monitored your response.  The collected data was then collaborated with Cornell University and the University of California.

As you can see by the number of users that were affected, it was not everyone. This only equates to .04% of its users; barely a drop in the massive Facebook bucket. Many Facebook users were upset about these findings. Facebook defended itself by siting the data use policy that all must agree to when signing up to use Facebook. Facebook does tend to update their privacy policy and other policies regularly, and users should take note of these updates.

I understand why users might be upset, as most folks do not wanted to be experimented on without their knowledge. But the fact is, I believe this occurs more often than you may think, no matter what platform you use. Think about why we have the locations of roads and interstates. All because of unkown research. That's one positive way to view this. As for business owners, provides insight on how we should be relaying our messages when on Facebook.  

As we all know, Facebook continues to make changes both on the personal and business side. What are your thoughts?  Would you be more receptive if Facebook provided a privacy type setting to "opt-out" of these research studies?

Topics: Social Media

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