Is the internet now just one big human experiment?
Reprinted from the Guardian, by Dan Gillmore
It’s not only Facebook treating us like lab rats. Dating sites can manipulate our emotions, too – and blame it on user testing. The possibilities are endlessly scary.
‘I understand … why the anger is there,’ OKCupid’s co-founder said. ‘But people also need to understand that … nobody launches a redesign without testing on different users.’
If you thought the internet industry was chastened by the public firestorm after Facebook revealed it had manipulated the news feeds of its own users to affect their emotions, think again: OKCupid.com, the dating site, is now bragging that it deliberately arranged matches between people whom its algorithms determined were not compatible – just to get data on how well the site was working.
In a Monday blog post entitled – I’m not making this up – “We Experiment On Human Beings!” the site’s co-founder, Christian Rudder, essentially told us to face the facts of our modern world … at least as he sees them:
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