9 Answers about Facebook’s creepy emotional-manipulation experiment
The Washington Post - 07/01/2014
But even if Facebook’s experimentation “creeps you out,” a la Susan Fiske, you realistically, as a user, don’t want it to stop.
Why? It makes Facebook better for you. In the two hours it’s taken me to write this, Facebook has probably run dozens of “experiments” on new features and design changes that will make the site more user-friendly, by showing different versions of the site to different users and seeing how they react. This is called A/B testing, in industry parlance. Framed another way, it looks a whole lot like psychological research.
“These tests are pervasive, active and on-going across every conceivable online and offline environment from couponing to product recommendations,” Brian Keegan — a computational social science researcher at Northeastern — wrote on his blog. “… every A/B test is a psych experiment.”