Facebook Research: Has it Gone Too Far?

By Wayne Schmidt, EdD
Doctor of Education Chair, College of Doctoral Studies

Posted on July 30, 2015  in  [ Doctoral Journey ]

In summer 2014, Facebook admitted that it controlled the content that users saw and then monitored how what was seen on Facebook affected people’s moods.

In summary, they found that seeing more positive content improved people’s moods, while more negative content made them feel worse, or even angry.

The research was conducted on over 600,000 people, so the results are pretty generalizable.

Whether we use Facebook (or other social media) or not, it is a powerful force in the world. The question then is whether Facebook (or other media) has the right to control the content it delivers knowing that the content delivered is going to affect how people feel.

Several months later in late 2014, Facebook was still a topic of discussion, as the company had admitted to still conducting some research on users, though monitoring sensitive information more closely.

Facebook is hardly the first and certainly won’t be the last website to perform testing on users.

The ramifications of controlling content knowing it will affect users are fairly wide ranging and worthy of some discussion.

So, I invite you to chime in by commenting below; discussion is welcome!

Read more content from Dr. Schmidt by checking out his latest blog post, It’s Not Over ‘Til…

More about Dr. Schmidt:

Dr. Wayne Schmidt attended and graduated from Concordia University in Chicago, Long Beach State University and Arizona State University earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from those institutions, respectively. Dr. Schmidt’s doctoral dissertation research focused on using collaborative inquiry as professional development for teachers. He has spent 36 years in the education field with those years divided into two equal halves. The first 18 were spent largely as a junior high school teacher and the second 18 as the principal of a K-8 school in the southwestern part of the U.S. Dr. Schmidt has been the founding chair of two committees in the Pacific Southwest District, the first being the District Testing Committee and the second was the District Curriculum Task Force.

Dr. Schmidt believes the ultimate goal of teaching is to make our students better people. So, whenever possible, he uses whatever the lesson of the day is to springboard into a larger lesson that, hopefully, the students can carry with them outside the classroom. In his spare time, Dr. Schmidt likes to read good mysteries, tinker with computers and play guitar. He has been fortunate enough to travel and has been to nearly all 50 states, Europe several times and Egypt.

About College of Doctoral Studies

Grand Canyon University’s innovative doctoral degree programs prepare learners for leadership roles in their professions, communities and society. Our dynamic online learning community, integrated dissertation process, wealth of resources and collaborative environment support a successful and meaningful doctoral journey. We believe earning a doctoral degree is a journey and similar to climbing a mountain—challenging, invigorating and completely rewarding when you reach the top. Our goal is to help you conquer your own mountain and succeed on your doctoral journey. Readers of The Doctoral Journey blog, presented by the College of Doctoral Studies, will find resourceful and knowledgeable posts regarding the doctoral process, research best practices and dissertation tips among other topics from GCU’s doctoral faculty.


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