Tag Archives: Social Media

Issues of Research Ethics in the Facebook ‘Mood Manipulation’ Study: The Importance of Multiple Perspectives

 

By: Michelle Broaddus, Ph.D.

A new study using Facebook data to study “emotional contagion,” and the ensuing backlash of its publication offers the opportunity to examine several ethical principles in research. One of the pillars of ethically conducted research is balancing the risks to the individual participants against the potential benefits to society or scientific knowledge. While the study’s effects were quite small, the authors argue that “given the massive scale of social networks such as Facebook, even small effects can have large aggregated consequences.” However, participants were not allowed to give informed consent, which constitutes a risk of the research and the major source of the backlash.

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Issues of Research Ethics in the Facebook ‘Mood Manipulation’ Study: The Importance of Multiple Perspectives (full text)

 

By: Michelle Broaddus, Ph.D.

A recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a mood manipulation experiment conducted by Facebook scientists during one week in 2012 that suggests evidence of “emotional contagion,” or the spread of positive and negative affect between people. The backlash to this publication has been significant. As two examples, Slate.com published a piece entitled “Facebook’s Unethical Experiment: It intentionally manipulated users’ emotions without their knowledge” and The Atlantic’s piece, “Even the Editor of Facebook’s Mood Study Thought It Was Creepy.”

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HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow Publishes Study on HIV Testing and Facebook

Dr. Sean D. Young, a 2013 Fordham University Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow

While Facebook may be used primarily to reconnect with old friends and share vacation photos, a recent study suggests that it  may also be an important tool in HIV prevention.

A new study by Fordham University HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute Fellow Dr. Sean D. Young of UCLA found that using social media and online communities not only leads to increased HIV testing and encourages significant behavior change among high risk groups, but also turns out to be one of the best HIV-prevention and testing approaches on the Internet.

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