The most widespread social network out there is facing some criticism because of a bug on its Android platform. Facebook is being accused of deliberately bugging the app on certain Android users just to test out how they would react. This isn’t the first time Facebook has faced this kind of issue, and it likely will not be the last.
Facebook Messes with Android Users for Emotional Experiment
The allegations claim that the platform made their app crash on purpose for some Android users. This was to test out if users would be discouraged from using the app at all. The apps were apparently crashing for a long period of time. According to an insider to the experiment, the results showed that users simply switched to the mobile web version of the social media network.
These Experiments Are Not Rare
The accusations are wild, but the actual details of the experiment are even wilder. Social media platforms are no stranger to these kinds of experiments. In fact, they depend on them in order to mold their interfaces and updates to user friendliness. In order to accomplish that, it must carry out a series of experiments.
The thing about this specific venture, though, is that testing for an emotional response might be above the social network’s ethical threshold. Last year, Facebook revealed that they’d conducted an experiment that studied ’emotional contagion’ on its users. This experiment involved filtering what users saw on their timelines to see if seeing sad or happy content made their posts sadder or happier.
The Truth is, Zuckerberg Crossed A Line
This clearly crosses some lines. Facebook has been making steady pushes to become fully integrated into modern life. It has been making many significant advances in regards to its makeup and their artificial intelligence. We can see this in big ways, in Facebook’s M and their Safety Check tool. It’s only natural that the social network receives backlash for trying to mess with user’s emotions.
Facebook Experiments on Users to Prepare for Google Attack
Google is dangerously close to dropping Facebook from the Google Play Store. These experiments are likely a way for the social network to see how well it can fare in case it is removed from platforms that belong to its competition. If Google takes out the Facebook app from its store, Facebook will lose a lot of traffic from Android OS devices.
It looks like they don’t have too much to worry about, though. If the results are true and users merely switched to the web version of the platform, they’ll be okay. That is unless Apple decides to drop the Facebook app from the App Store.
No Tests Revealed on iOS Users Yet
Facebook has made no recent experiments on iOS phones. This is probably because it won’t risk Apple taking down their app from the App Store. iOS users probably make up most of Facebook’s mobile traffic in the US, and they won’t sacrifice that anytime soon.
An experiment on iOS users could turn out equally interesting results. It’s, at least, worth entertaining. Who knows, maybe Mark Zuckerberg will upgrade Free Basics and make a real phone with real internet access that doesn’t dictate how anyone should use technology.