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Facebook users should know better

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Bit Depth
Amid all the Facebook likes, there are aspects of the social media giant that some might find worthy of dislike. PHOTO: ILLUSTRATION BY BIGSTOCK

After all these years of casual mistreatment by the business, one might have expected Facebook users to be a bit more level-headed in their expectations from the service. 


Even if all the fuss about posts being wilfully stifled on Facebook’s newsfeeds in order to encourage more paid advertising didn’t seem relevant to the average user busy posting pictures of lunch, the flippant disregard that Mr Zuckerberg’s wildly successful social media web site has for privacy and the integrity of the individual should have offered some insight into what the company was likely to get up to in the future. 


So when it was announced a couple of weeks ago that a January 2012 study had tailored the feeds of 689,000 Facebook users to see whether they responded differently to positive or negative posts to their timelines, nobody should have been surprised. 


Facebook’s response to the concerns that arose when the paper was published in June was to point to its data use policy, which states that data can be used “for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.” 


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