Controversy Over Facebook Emotional Manipulation Study Grows Reply

FBControversy Over Facebook Emotional Manipulation Study Grows As Timeline Becomes More Clear

Gregory S. McNeal, Forbes

In a controversial study Facebook reported the results of a massive psychological experiment on 689,003 users.  The authors were able to conduct the research because in their words, automated testing “was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research.

Most of us who covered the story relied on that statement from the academic journal for evidence of Facebook’s efforts to gain informed consent.  Well, it turns out that was wrong.

My colleague Kashmir Hill just reported that Facebook conducted their news feed manipulation four months before the term “research” was added to their data use policy, she writes:

However, we were all relying on what Facebook’s data policy says now. In January 2012, the policy did not say anything about users potentially being guinea pigs made to have a crappy day for science, nor that “research” is something that might happen on the platform.

Four months after this study happened, in May 2012, Facebook made changes to its data use policy, and that’s when it introduced this line about how it might use your information: “For internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.” Facebook helpfully posted a “red-line” version of the new policy, contrasting it with the prior version from September 2011— which did not mention anything about user information being used in “research.”

Kashmir’s story is worth reading in full, along with her earlier piece that digs deeper into the ethical and institutional review board issues, including a statement from Cornell “saying its IRB passed on reviewing the study because the part involving actual humans was done by Facebook not by the Cornell researcher involved in the study.”

Facebook seems nonplussed, releasing a statement saying ”To suggest we conducted any corporate research without permission is complete fiction. Companies that want to improve their services use the information their customers provide, whether or not their privacy policy uses the word ‘research’ or not.”

As Dan Solove points out in a recent LinkedIn Influencer post:

The problem with obtaining consent in this way is that people often rarely read the privacy policies or terms of use of a website. It is a pure fiction that a person really “agrees” with a policy such as this, yet we use this fiction all the time…

Article continues here:  Facebook Manipulation

The 7 Warning Signs That Someone is Trying to Manipulate You Reply

By Chris Simmons

Any attempt to manipulate another individual is directed not against one’s logical/rationale persona, but rather their emotional side. An objective, sterile appeal is inherently doomed because it provides no reason for “buy-in” or commitment. As a result, your adversary (for lack of a better word) must appeal to your emotions in order to gain advantage over you.

The individual seeking to exploit you will almost always target one or more of several emotional themes. The seven “hooks” of manipulation are:

  1. Ego:  “Everyone knows you are the most talented programmer in this company. That’s why you should talk to the boss about all the problems in the new software. She’ll listen to you.”
  2. Love:  “Who told you I was out with John last week?  If you loved me, you wouldn’t say that. I would never betray you or do anything to hurt you. I thought we shared something special.”
  3. Likability:  “Don’t start having second thoughts now. We need you to stay the course. Everyone is counting on you. Don’t back out on us. Everyone will be so disappointed”
  4. Curiosity“Come on, do it. You only live once! Haven’t you always wanted to be a cliff diver? It will be a rush. You’ll never get another chance to do this. Just do it!!!”
  5. Intimidation“What’s your problem? It’s not that big a decision. Stop being a jellyfish and show some backbone!”
  6. Guilt:  “Seriously?  You think I broke my old phone on purpose so you’d have to get me a new one? I’m hurt that you would even think that.”
  7. Fear“The family that was here this morning really loves this place and they made a verbal offer at full asking price. If you’re serious about this gorgeous home, I need a really good written offer today or it will be gone.”

By recognizing a manipulator’s feelings-based appeal and the “hot buttons” he/she will push, you can avoid being their puppet.  Their high-pressure tactics are designed to disrupt your thought process, that is, the integration of relevant facts with self-interest and your associated emotional needs and wants. To defeat their abusive maneuver, remain calm, remove their emotive red herring from consideration, and allow yourself the time to make a reasoned, well-informed decision.

France’s Revolution: An Orgy Of Symbolism And Spectacle Reply

By Monica Showalter, Investor’s Business Daily, July 12, 2013

On Sunday, the people of France marked the 224th anniversary of freedom fighters’ storming the Bastille, the medieval fortress-prison in Paris that had served as the symbol of royal tyranny and the struggle against it.

In reality, the moldering old castle wasn’t what it was portrayed. It wasn’t much of a prison, for one thing. The few prisoners “liberated” by the mob were mostly noblemen put there by their families for misbehavior. Nor was it a source of power or iron rule for the French king, who was planning to tear the fort down. On the day the Bastille was taken down, he scribbled “nothing” in his diary.

But due largely to the art of propaganda, the Bastille was transformed into a symbol of the French Revolution — legitimizing it, institutionalizing it and making it part of the popular culture. Modern propaganda, as we know it, was essentially invented by the French during this era.

So what is propaganda? The word derives from “propaganda fides” — the propagation of the faith that the Catholic Church called its missionary work during the 17th century. Political propaganda, like that first developed in France, was the spread of a political faith intended to replace the religious and royal order in the minds of the masses.

Based on what we know now, the actual details of the French Revolution are repugnant. The revolution included regicide, show trials, mass murder, an attack of the family unit, the repression of religion, the cult of personality and the birth of modern dictatorship. Still, France’s revolution is still considered as a heroic and historic event worthy of celebration — because of propaganda.

As for the Bastille, the building itself and France’s first revolutionary symbol, it ended up literally dissolved into propaganda, dismantled by a contractor with 1,000 masons in his employ. Pieces of the fortress were chopped up and sold as tourist tchotchkes, according to a riveting account of the fort’s demise in Simon Schama’s “Citizens: A Chronicle of The French Revolution.” The contractor, Pierre-Francois Palloy, was a successful businessman with a better-mousetrap idea. But he also worked closely with authorities who wanted to provide “souvenirs” that would give everyone a stake in the revolution to display in their homes.

Souvenirs were just one method of institutionalizing the movement. The use of billboards and placards and slogans also took off during this time. Political clubs — proto-meet-ups, actually — were used as well, spreading the message of revolution across the country. And mass media were co-opted to distribute pamphlets even in small towns.

Most of all, the revolution understood the uses of pop culture. Playing cards were imprinted with revolutionary messages and tea cups were engraved with guillotines, all to make the revolution, as opposed to the royal regime, seem the norm. Propaganda also adopted a slogan — “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” — invented for the first time on a mass scale in a bid to get the word out and make the message as simple as possible.

Perhaps the most effective propaganda technique developed and utilized during this period was the mass spectacle — in which everyone participated as if the revolution was a religion. It began with the Bastille — where Palloy came up with the idea of creating an “altar” of cannon balls, chains and manacles taken from the old fortress.

“On the following day, after a religious ceremony at the Church of Saint-Louis, seven hundred workers all swore loyalty to the constitution, and through a mechanical contraption of great ingenuity, the punitive ironmongery self-destructed to reveal a huge array of flowers (artificial, given the season),” wrote Schama. “After this stage miracle, the seven hundred made their way in procession to the Hotel de Ville carrying a model of the Bastille that they had fashioned from its stones.”

Such ceremonies of mass spectacle and symbolism were repeated throughout the revolution that followed, culminating in Reign of Terror leader Maxmilien de Robespierre’s strange “Festival of the Supreme Being” intended to replace religion itself as a quasi-Roman worship of “reason” by 1793. At heart, historians say, the spectacles were a means of transforming one society into another. The aim was not merely to replace the new regime with the old, but to create a sense of brotherhood. With everyone participating in the same act of worship at the same time, fears dissipated and people were more willing to die in battle.

Such techniques have since been used the world over — sometimes to largely benign ends, as in France, but frequently for purposes far worse, as the events of the 20th century show.