By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-gets-the-placebo department
An anonymous reader writes: This summer, news broke that Facebook had conducted an experiment on some of their users, tweaking which posts showed up in their timeline to see if it affected the tone of their later posts. The fallout was extensive — Facebook took a lot of flack from users and the media for overreaching and violating trust. (Of course, few stopped to think about how Facebook decided what to show people in the first place, but that's beside the point.) Now, Wired is running a somewhat paranoid article saying Facebook can't help but experiment on its users. The writer says this summer's blowback will only show Facebook they need to be sneakier about it.
At the same time, a study came out from Ohio State University saying some users rely on social media to alter their moods. For example, when a user has a bad day, he's likely to look up acquaintances who have it worse off, and feel a bit better that way. Now, going on social media is going to affect your mood in one way or another — shouldn't we try to understand that dynamic? Is there a way Facebook can run experiments like these ethically? (Or Twitter, or Google, or any similarly massive company, of course.)Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's eyes-on-your-test-no-keyloggers-keep-your-botnet-to-yourself department
New submitter Williamcole
sends news that in many U.S. states, educators will begin administering standardized tests on school computers this school year. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, for the sneakier kids), only two states have codified regulations to prevent cheating
and make sure the tests are secure: Oregon and Delaware. According to a new report
(PDF) from American College Testing (ACT), the other states aren't doing enough to prevent keyloggers, transmission of test materials, or even teachers going in afterward to change a student's responses. They also warn that the kids will likely find ways to access the internet while taking the test, letting them look up answers as needed. Even the rules in Oregon and Delaware have weaknesses ACT recommends strengthening before testing begins.Read Replies (0)