When people found out that they were unknowingly being used as virtual guinea pigs in a Facebook social experiment, they got angry. The researchers were surprised and the Facebook tech team was “unprepared for the reaction the paper received when it was published.”
I’m not surprised by either response. People don’t like it when they feel like they’ve been tricked and researchers and techies have a tendency to be narrowly focused on the goal. You can tell me I’m unfairly painting these groups with a broad brush but in the majority of cases it’s true. It has to be true – because it’s how they get the work done. A researcher can’t get personally or emotionally involved with the subjects in an experiment because it would taint the results. It’s not a jab, it’s how it is.