Feeds

Facebook: Yes, we made you SAD on PURPOSE... for your own good

It makes (y)our content 'more engaging'

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Facebook has hit back at its critics after the social network instructed researchers to meddle with its users' "news feeds" in order to manipulate their emotions.

The free-content ad network sparked anger when it emerged its data scientist Adam Kramer gave a green light to trick-cyclists to filter out positive and negative posts seen by 700,000 people to see how they would react.

While Kramer offered a personal apology in a blog post explaining his motivations for the controversial study, published by PNAS, Facebook itself was in a much less repentant mood.

A website spokesman said, when quizzed by The Register, conveyed the impression that the social network believed that deliberately making its users unhappy was worth it as it made content "more relevant and engaging":

This research was conducted for a single week in 2012 and none of the data used was associated with a specific person’s Facebook account. We do research to improve our services and to make the content people see on Facebook as relevant and engaging as possible.

A big part of this is understanding how people respond to different types of content, whether it’s positive or negative in tone, news from friends, or information from pages they follow. We carefully consider what research we do and have a strong internal review process.

There is no unnecessary collection of people’s data in connection with these research initiatives and all data is stored securely.

Facebook's spokesman then pointed us towards Kramer's "apologetic response" and was keen to note that the study had been "conducted more than 2.5 years ago".

The Mark Zuckerberg-run company appeared to be suggesting that its experiments with Facebook users were less ethically ropey than they had been in the past.

Nonetheless, sorry seems to be the hardest word for an emotionless Facebook. Funny that. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Like condoms, data now comes in big and HUGE sizes
Linux Foundation lights a fire under storage devs with new conference
Community chest: Storage firms need to pay open-source debts
Samba implementation? Time to get some devs on the job
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?