Deeper Issues Behind Facebook's Most Recent Privacy Debacle
If you've been following news around the revelation of what may be Facebook's biggest ever privacy breach (and goodness knows, there are plenty to choose from!), then I urge you to read this blog post: http://vacuousminx.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/facebooks-indefensible-unscholarly-research/
(If you're not familiar, in brief, it has been revealed that in 2009 Facebook deliberately manipulated "positive" vs "negative" content in the news feeds of around 600,000 users in cooperation with an independent academic research project.)
The linked post provides a well-reasoned and informed view into the deeper story behind this story. Yes, Facebook may well be very culpable in this case, but there are even more troubling implications for the academic world.
My wife is a scientist. I've heard her speak often about some of the major ethical issues in the scientific world. One of the foremost of those is the issue of human-subject research.
We have all heard the horror stories from the past of horrendous things done to unwilling or unaware persons as part of scientific studies. In more recent times very strict rules have been defined in most of the developed world to prevent such abuses. Chief among those rules is the idea of consent.
At issue in the current case is the possibility that academic researchers used Facebook's Terms of Service, to which every user agrees at signup, as a shield to get around the established rules.
Read the post to get informed on these issues, and let me know what you think: http://vacuousminx.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/facebooks-indefensible-unscholarly-research/