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Also, The Internet’s Own Boy is one documentary worth watching, BlackBerry invites us all to check our facts, Photoshop Express lands on Windows Phone, binge-watching is bad for your health, and Apple paints the iPhone as an extra parent.

Facebook Conducts Experiment On Users

In 2012, Facebook conducted an experiment on almost 700,000 users to test the emotional impact of using the social network. The experiment saw data scientists manipulate what kind of status updates 5 Facebook Status Updates Guaranteed To Annoy [Opinion] 5 Facebook Status Updates Guaranteed To Annoy [Opinion] Facebook is, by all accounts, closing in on 1 billion users. That's an awful lot of people maintaining a profile on the site, and telling their family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else who will listen,... Read More people saw in their feed to determine whether seeing mostly positive ones would lead to mostly positive reactions and vice versa.

The full study can be accessed via the PNAS website, but the results of the experiment suggest people’s emotions can indeed be affected by what they’re exposed to on Facebook. And, by extension, the Internet as a whole.

This experiment has caused much controversy and consternation over the past weekend. While it was almost certainly legal thanks to Facebook’s Data Use Policy constituting informed consent, most people agree it wasn’t very ethical. It also demonstrates the power we’ve all given to Facebook purely by using the service.

Read more at Tumbling Conduct and then let us know what you think of Facebook’s experiment in the comments section at the end of this article.

Aaron Swartz Doc Available To Watch

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The documentary about the life and death of Aaron Swartz, titled The Internet’s Own Boy, is now available to watch in movie theaters across the U.S. and online. It can be purchased on Vimeo for $6.99, or watched for free under a Creative Commons license at Archive.org.

Swartz was a computer programmer and political activist involved in the development of RSS, Creative Commons, Reddit, Markdown, and more besides. He tragically committed suicide at the age of just 26 after being accused of illegally downloading academic journals from MIT. This documentary tells the full story.

BlackBerry Launches Fact Check Portal

blackberry-fact-check

BlackBerry is sick of its competitors spreading misinformation about the company and its products, and has launched BlackBerry Fact Check (#BBFactCheck) to fight back. This new blog will find fictions about BlackBerry as spread by Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others, and present its own version of the truth. Which is a great idea, but is anyone actually going to listen?

Photoshop Express Lands On Windows Phone

Photoshop Express is now available on Windows Phone, with Adobe finally releasing the image-editing app on Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Adobe Photoshop Express for Windows Phone uses the same freemium business model as the iOS and Android versions. But while the iOS app arrived in 2009 and the Android app arrived in 2011, it’s taken this long for Adobe to bring Photoshop Express Adobe Photoshop Express For Android - It's Free But Is It Any Good? Adobe Photoshop Express For Android - It's Free But Is It Any Good? Photoshop is not just a strong brand. In the world of photo manipulation, it's pretty much the only brand. When your product's name becomes a verb ("photoshopping" images), that says something. But there's a reason... Read More to Windows Phone. Shameful.

Binge-Watching Is Bad For Your Health

Binge-watching a TV show on DVD, Blu-ray, or Netflix is a fantastic way of wasting a weekend, especially if you prepare for it by following our guide to binge-watching A Short Guide To Binge-Watching [Weird & Wonderful Web] A Short Guide To Binge-Watching [Weird & Wonderful Web] Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have turned binge-watching into a mainstay of the mainstream. Before you begin binge-watching TV you should arm yourself with some important information. This short guide helps. Read More . Unfortunately, it turns out binge-watching isn’t the healthiest activity in the world. Yes, it’s less healthy for you than going for a walk. Who’d have thought, eh?!

We know this from a study of couch potatoes conducted in Spain and recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The research suggests people who watch TV for more than three hours each day are doubling their risk of dying compared to those who watch TV for less than one hour each day. I hate to think what regular 8-hour binge-watching marathons do.

Apple Paints iPhone As Extra Parent

The latest run of Apple adverts An Apple (Ad) A Day: Top Ten Commercials You’re Likely To Remember An Apple (Ad) A Day: Top Ten Commercials You’re Likely To Remember Apple is a company that you either love or hate; there's very little middle ground. This is because you either buy into the company and its culture or reject it outright. Seeing as I don't... Read More have concentrated on showing how its products fit into everyday life. The newest Apple ad, embedded above, shows how the iPhone can act as a kind of surrogate parent. Some of the examples seem a little far-fetched, but we would love to hear from parents whether this ad rings true or not.

Fleshlight LaunchPAD Brings Sexy Back

And finally, if you have ever wanted to have sex with your iPad then Fleshlight has made your dreams come true. The Fleshlight LaunchPAD is an iPad case which allows you to enjoy sexy time with your iPad. Quite literally. And if you’re unaware of what a Fleshlight is we suggest Googling it right about now. We’re certainly not going into detail here. Because prudish.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Are you angered by Facebook experimenting on its users? Have you watched the Aaron Swartz documentary? If so, what did you think? Would you ever buy an iPad case you can literally have sex with?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Alternatively, let us know of any technology news stories we may have missed.

Image Credit: Bruce Turner via Flickr

  1. Charlene F
    July 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I think it's disgusting. Legal or not. There's people out there struggling with severe depression and facebook is trying to influence our moods. It's pure evil.

    • Dave P
      July 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      That's a very good point. What if this experiment had deepened someone's depression to the point they did something awful? That may even have happened and we'll never actually know.

  2. Koshy G
    July 1, 2014 at 7:35 am

    @Michel Read this : https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/your-info " In addition to helping people see and find things that you do and share, we may use the information we receive about you for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement. "

    • michel
      July 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      That still doesn't say, We will use you as a test subject by manipulating information you receive, without further consent or notice.

      It's not enough to just use the word Research. It implies you'll be tracked, not manipulated. The courts would probably agree, and in fact the UK is now investigating. Plus, you're still ignoring that this was FUNDED BY THE US MILITARY and not defensible as private business. The US has history of funding psychological research on unknowing, unwilling subjects. The CIA admitted culpability and paid compensation to victims. Since that program deeply affected my own family, I too have strong opinions on the matter:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA#Legal_issues_involving_informed_consent

    • michel
      July 2, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      That still doesn't say, We will use you as a test subject by manipulating information you receive, without further consent or notice.

      It's not enough to just use the word Research. It implies you'll be tracked, not manipulated. The courts would probably agree, and in fact the UK is now investigating. Plus, you're still ignoring that this was FUNDED BY THE US MILITARY and not defensible as private business. The US has history of funding psychological research on unknowing, unwilling subjects. The CIA admitted culpability and paid compensation to victims. Since that program deeply affected my own family, I too have strong opinions on the matter:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA#Legal_issues_involving_informed_consent

    • michel
      July 2, 2014 at 3:27 pm

      That still doesn't say, We will use you as a test subject by manipulating information you receive, without further consent or notice.

      It's not enough to just use the word Research. It implies you'll be tracked, not manipulated. The courts would probably agree, and in fact the UK is now investigating. Plus, you're still ignoring that this was FUNDED BY THE US MILITARY and not defensible as private business. The US has history of funding psychological research on unknowing, unwilling subjects. The CIA admitted culpability and paid compensation to victims. Since that program deeply affected my own family, I too have strong opinions on the matter:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA#Legal_issues_involving_informed_consent

  3. Koshy G
    July 1, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Of course they had an opportunity to stop using it before the the experiment. They could have never signed up in the first place. Saying nobody reads reads the T&C is no excuse for anything. You should have read it. Not reading it is your fault. If you killed somebody and say I don’t read the law because nobody reads all the laws is stupid and does not does not justify the crime, It is your job to read it, if you don’t read you have to accept the consequences. When you press the I have read T&C check box, you are supposed to read T&C and not skip it. The excuse nobody reads the T&C is stupid. Nobody is forcing you to sign up to series with long and boring T&C. If you then sign up for services by skipping the T&C you should expect the worst and accept that you could have sold them your soul.

    Facebook said they were going to experiment with you, yo agreed to to it. Now when they did what you agreed to, you are getting angry. They couldn't be more clearer, you said you were ok with it. If you didn't like the policy you shouldn't have signed up. You can complain about the terms of the T&C and not signup but you cannot agree to it and then get angry when they did what they said they would do.

    I have strong opinions on this subject.

    • Dave P
      July 1, 2014 at 11:43 am

      OK. First things first, the Facebook T&C didn't say they would be experimenting on users. They simply referred to "research," which is so vague it could be taken a number of different ways.

      Secondly, you suggest it's the fault of those who don't read T&C. What if you signed up for a service, skipping the T&C like most people do, and then a year later find out that using the service has severely poisoned you. Would you still say it's OK, it's my fault for not reading the T&C?

      No one is saying this experiment was all that bad on its own, but it's what it represents for the future. Facebook could, if it wants, influence 1.2 billion people around the world by simply filtering what they see in their news feeds.

    • Koshy G
      July 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      It's obviously my fault. I don't wan to repeat my self and waste your time. It is our responsibility to read the T&C, self harm caused by not doing what you were supposed to do is your fault.

      I know every body has the right to their opinion, the only thing is I think my opinion is the correct opinion and everybody is wrong who think otherwise. LOL

      I have very strong opinions about this matter.

    • michel
      July 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Show us where in the Facebook terms it explicitly says, "you agree to be used as a test subject in psychological research projects funded by the US Military without your knowledge or further consent."

      Feelings are one thing, facts are another.

    • Koshy G
      July 1, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Reaserch means any kind of research. I not here defending facebook or anything, all I am saying is that you have to own up and accpet that what happped to you was your fault, you were the one who didn't read the T&C. If you felt the terms where unreasonable or too vague you shouldn't have accepted it. If you feel that what they did was agest the terms and conditions you should sue. Terms are conditons are there for a reason. The Law and the courts are there for a reason

  4. Koshy G
    June 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I don't think facebook did anything wrong. I think the people who got offended by the test are stupid. Nobody is forcing anyone to use facebook. Stop complaining, if you don't like it just stop using it. And I found the test in itself was not too sinister but that is besides the point, they could have done something wildly inappropriate but they are within their right to do, as you have consented to it. As a private profit seeking company they should what ever that is in their interest, if it is legal. If any body has a problem with that they can choose not use it and switch to another social network that doesn't do that. The experiment was clearly intune the their terms and conditions, Facebook said they were going to do it, Its your fault for not paying attention. You said it was ok for facebook to do it, But when they did actually did it you are outraged. If you don't like their policy stop using it and make another social network with policies you like.

    • michel
      June 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      you're completely uninformed. Facebook never explicitly told its users it was going to use them as research subjects and perform experiments upon them. And without arguing the stupidity of your claims about what private business should and shouldn't do, this experiment was funded by the US Military: http://goo.gl/mZ1JJt

    • Dave P
      June 30, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      The test itself may have not been sinister, but surely it's what it represents. Right now, Facebook can influence your mood, but what if it decides to influence your political leanings, or your moral position on controversial issues? All by simply showing you particula status updates from particular friends.

      Do you always read terms and conditions before signing up to use a service online? I know I don't. This may indeed have been legal, but legal does not necessarily equate to ethical.

      You say people can simply stop using Facebook. Sure, we can, but those who were the subject of this experiment weren't given that opportunity prior to the experiment taking place.

      • fcd76218
        January 5, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        I just came across this so I'm a bit late to the party. :-)

        "Facebook can influence your mood, but what if it decides to influence your political leanings, or your moral position on controversial issues?"
        Many Americans do not think for themselves and form their own political and/or moral views but get them from outside sources (pundits, experts, media, analysts, bloggers, etc.) That is why they are commonly known as "sheeple." Facebook is as good a place as any for sheeple to obtain a pre-determined, pre-digested opinions.

    • Dave P
      July 1, 2014 at 11:39 am

      That's the thing, regardless of whether it was in the T&C, the guinea pigs used didn't give express consent prior to the start of the experiment. What Facebook did may well have been legal, but most people agree it was anything but ethical.

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