Facebook Manipulation Experiment Stirs Twitter Frenzy

There are a few things I understand about media, after being an active member of it for the past 20+ years:

  • It can only thrive because it understands it’s users.
  • Everything it does is based on what it knows about its users.
  • It’s constantly gathering insights, trends and habits about its users.

Facebook is the king of social media because it understands the importance of monitoring it’s community and competition. It has to find ways to keep people interested, engaged and active. It is constantly monitoring our attitudes, habits and lifestyles. It does this while we are sleeping or active on the site.

The experiment they just did, could have been handled better and with more respect – but it wasn’t.

If they choose to continue their research and discovery (which they will), I suspect they will handle it better. But if you don’t want to be in a petri dish, then best to get off social media, particularly Facebook.

How could they have handled it differently and still gotten the feedback they needed?

Their policy page is comprehensive and worded as such and it would be difficult to win a class action suit because it’s all in the interpretation.

Many are choosing to opt out of Facebook. That is a choice that can work really well for people. But, if you use it right, set all your settings, and accept what goes with the territory it can be an incredible resource, as well as fun and productive.

Great question. It’s sort of addictive, vicarious and very entertaining, not to mention the most immediate, viral way to spread important information and get feedback.

Facebook is NOT required. It’s totally optional and voluntary, so if you don’t want to be under social surveillance, best to log off and not participate.

We are products and so are all our customers really. We are tapped for all kinds of reasons. It’s up to us to build relationships where we see mutual value.

Sales manipulation is always going to exist. We need to qualify, vet and make sure we know who we are doing business with. Most of the manipulation like that is transparent.

It may be disturbing, but hardly unexpected.

Yes we do, and it starts and ends with you. You can choose not to be on Facebook, or friend people, or create a page that reflects your values, standards and etiquette.

What do you think about the latest activities of Facebook and this Facebook experiment?

Computer Experiment Photo via Shutterstock

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Deborah Shane

Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion, Top Small Business Podcast, Top 50 SMB Influencer on Twitter 2015 (Dunn and Bradstreet), personal branding strategist and a social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

4 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    One thing is for sure – this experiment is really hurting people. Aside from the fact that they are already sharing much of their personal lives in this medium, they are also experimented without their consent. I personally think that that is unethical and should be addressed.

    • Deborah Shane

      Aira, it was not handled respectfully and could have been set up as a more voluntary survey, but it wasn’t. The public response is something FB does consider, but most retailers have things in place on the web that gathers tons of information about our habits as we are searching. How else do products and services show up on our pages that we just looked at?

  2. I choose to remain on Facebook, because of the people, the discussions, the laughs, the community. However, I feel what Facebook did was disrespectful, manipulative, unethical, inconsiderate and dangerous.

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