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Are You A Lab Rat, Social Addict, And Crash Test Dummy? Facebook Acted Like You Are

Facebook logo After unannounced tests in 2014 when Facebook manipulated its customers' news feeds without notice nor consent, users complained bitterly. Well, Facebook has done it again. Either executives at the social networking giant haven't learned from their 2014 experience, or don't care.

This time, the unannounced test included Android app users where Facebook intentionally crashed their apps. Forbes magazine reported:

"Facebook conducted secret tests to determine the magnitude of its Android users’ Facebook addiction, according to a new report published yesterday. Like a bunch of crash test dummies, users of the Facebook app for Android were (several years ago) subject to intentional Facebook for Android app crashes without being informed of the tests. These tests were reportedly conducted so Facebook could determine user resilience to app deprivation–that is, whether users would find ways to use Facebook on their Android devices without the Google Play store app..."

Similarly, the dating service OKCupid irritated its users in 2014 after secret tests. People don't like being treated like lab rats. Ethically-challenged executives don't seem to understand this.

Supposedly, Facebook wanted to know if those Android app users would get replacement apps from other sources, or use the browser interface. Reportedly, Facebook has one billion Android app users. The news article didn't say whether Facebook performed similar tests on Apple iPhone app users. It seems wise to assume so.

The news report didn't mention whether Facebook slowed or manipulated the browser interface to see if users would switch to one of its mobile apps. It seems wise to assume so.

What are your opinions of the secret tests? Is this an acceptable "cost" for a service that promises to remain free?

Comments

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Chanson de Roland

In answer to the Editor's questions of whether Facebook's executives haven't learned from their 2014 experience, the answer based on the collection of Facebook's actions is that they haven't learned, because they don't care. And they don't care because people are addicted to Facebook in ways that manifest all the features of literal addiction with all that implies, including the addicts acting in ways that are irrational and often contrary to their interests. That being the case, why should Facebook's executives care about any controversy arising from their bad acts, any more than a drug pusher with an exclusive franchise cares about his customers' complaint, for where else are they going to go to get their Facebook fix.

Given the federal government and the courts effective capitulation in enforcing or even acknowledging users' right to privacy in their personal information, the only time that social media addicts incidentally receive any benefit of privacy is when the large social media companies, Facebook, Google, et al., fight over their addicts, like pimps fighting over a prized whore. Other than that, addicted users' right to privacy and to dignified treatment by social media companies doesn't exist, except in the most insubstantial and inadequate form.

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