Tech commentator Violet Blue writes about Facebook’s “emotional contagion” experments, and does not mince words, calling them “unethical, untrustworthy, and now downright harmful“:
Everyone except the people who worked on “Experimental evidence” agree that what Facebook did was unethical. In fact, it’s gone from toxic pit of ethical bankruptcy to unmitigated disaster in just a matter of days….
…. Intentionally doing things to make people unhappy in their intimate networks isn’t something to screw around with — especially with outdated and unsuitable tools.
It’s dangerous, and Facebook has no way of knowing it didn’t inflict real harm on its users.
We knew we couldn’t trust Facebook, but this is something else entirely.
Time will tell, but I wonder whether this will turn out to be a tipping point when significant numbers of people conclude that Zuckerberg and co cannot be trusted and seek other ways of keeping in touch online with those they really care about.
It may just be a bizarre coincidence, but I’ve noticed a lot of people I used to know on Facebook showing up as “People I may know” on Google+. Not that Google is much less creepy and intrusive than Facebook.