Social media data ethics

A social media site that you use frequently over time aggregates a huge amount of information about you. I’ve linked three articles below to guide our discussion on Wednesday.

Researchers published a study this summer reporting an experiment on 689,000 Facebook users from January 2012 that manipulated the amount of positive and negative content that users saw in their news feeds. The goal was to see whether people can catch emotions like we catch colds.

Please read two brief articles about the study (and you’re welcome to read the study above if you’re especially interested):

The study provoked a lot of discussion — which we’ll continue in class — and prompted at least one source to acknowledge that massive data analysis is a part of the online experience. Christian Rudder, president of OkCupid, published a blog post, We Experiment on Human Beings!, and followed up with a book, Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One’s Looking, which draws on OkCupid data.

Please read the article below about the OkCupid situation. You can check out a FiveThirtyEight story if you’re interested in an additional perspective (and aren’t offended by bad language or discussion of sexual attraction).

Thanks for your work on the Summit assignment so far, and I look forward to receiving your work by class time on Wednesday.

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