Facebook getting a little snoopy

Posted by John Kanelis on

Facebook wants to know about your psychological profile.

What’s more, the social media platform is researching it without ever telling you about it. Is it OK to develop a profile of users without their knowledge?

For me, the answer is no.

PBS NewsHour senior correspondent Judy Woodruff recently talked with Wall Street Journal social media reporter Reed Albergotti about what Facebook has been doing. The interview is posted on the link here:


Here’s how Woodruff framed the issue with Albergotti: “Let’s turn now to a social media story that’s been generating lots of reaction, including anger, over the past few days."

It’s in response to a study Facebook conducted with hundreds of thousands of its users. The study in question goes back to 2012, when Facebook manipulated the incoming content of pages belonging to almost 700,000 of its users for a week, without telling them. It was designed to see how people’s attitudes were affected when they read either a stream of more positive posts or more negative ones in their so-called news feeds.

“The results were published in a respected scientific journal in June. As that information has come to light, many are upset at what Facebook did and how they did it. It’s also prompted concerns about the ethics of the research, the journal where it was published and much more.”

I’ll let the interview stand by itself. Look at it on the link and see for yourself.

However, the issue does bother me at one level.

Many Americans have been wringing their hands in recent months over the National Security Agency’s practice of monitoring emails and cell phone conversations. NSA officials and the White House say they’re trying to track the activities of Americans who could be involved in activities that pose a national security threat.

I don’t have anything to fear per se from the NSA. Still, the concerns about privacy are legitimate. They should be equally legit when it regards Facebook’s cobbling together psychological profiles on users without their knowledge.

What am I missing here?

I hope they didn’t try to profile my psychological makeup, not that I have anything to hide.

In case Facebook did, my demand simply is this: Butt out.

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