Did Facebook just manipulate its users’ moods by filtering visible posts?
Apparently, users’ feeds have been tweaked, to include a greater proportion of happy/sad words, and their subsequent posts assessed to see if or how their “mood” was affected. The study allegedly involved the posts of 700,000 users, without their prior consent.
Over at The New Yorker, Maria Konnikova tries to unravel the possible data findings, while I argue that it’s not about results — it’s about informed consent. If a corporation collects data, that’s one thing. But when it manipulates users’ moods and then collects those data, that’s a study.
It’s not the same thing at all.
If corporations want to manipulate subjects as part of online experiments, they need their subjects’ informed consent.
My two penn’orth in the comments section.