Monday, July 14, 2014

2267 Twofaced Book

There's been a big furor recently about how Facebook has affected people emotionally. Not just invaded their privacy. Invaded their emotional space. Wow. My space invaded by Facebook, what's the chances?

When friends ask me why I'm not on Facebook they hear my tirade about how every time Facebook changes something they automatically opt everyone back in so your private info is briefly exposed to the whole world. 

Privacy info like identifiers that could help criminals find your address, your children's birth dates to harvest for identity theft, your mother's maiden name and suchlike. Do you post such stuff?

But what Facebook has done recently is a new low. They secretly helped a researcher conduct a social experiment on emotions. 

Now this would have been marginally okay if they were just harvesting metadata already out there. But instead they actually altered people's newsfeeds to conduct the test. Yes, they got in and altered your newsfeed. Like intercepting and altering your U.S. Mail to tell you your cousin Hattie didn't like her new baby. 

That's bad. They painstakingly altered "emotional modifiers" in posts sent to you by other friends on your newsfeed, then monitored your following posts to determine if happy posts made you happy and/or sad posts made you sad. The stress here is not on the monitoring, which is bad enough. It's that they manipulated your friends' posts before they sent them to you.

I hope no one got sad enough they killed themselves.

In summary: You can't trust Facebook to not suddenly expose all your private data. You can't trust Facebook to not spy on your posts and sell other companies data based on that spying. And you can't trust Facebook to even send you unaltered emotionally accurate posts from your friends. 

Sign me up.

America, ya gotta love it. 

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