Posts tagged uses

Facebook Will Change How It Uses People In Experiments

Facebook plans to change the way it conducts research, after its social experiment that manipulated users’ news feeds received an outpouring of criticism.

On Thursday, the company admitted that the way they handled the “emotional contagion” experiment could have been handled differently, and announced a new research framework that includes guidelines, a review policy, training, and a new research website dedicated to the company’s academic research.

In June, Facebook published a paper detailing how it used news feed posts to determine whether positive or negative posts had an effect on users’ moods. Almost 700,000 people unknowingly participated in the study, and when the results were published, Facebook users and members of the academic and scientific communities were outraged.

See also: How To Opt Out Of Facebook’s Mind Altering Experiments

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in the wake of the publicized research, because at the time of the experiments, Facebook did not explain in its data use policy that personal information would be shared with researchers.

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer wrote in a blog post that the company didn’t anticipate the negative feedback. One thing Facebook should’ve considered, he wrote, was other non-experimental ways of doing the research, and that it could have benefitted by having more people, and more senior leadership, review the research. 

It’s important to engage with the academic community and publish in peer-reviewed journals, to share technology inventions and because online services such as Facebook can help us understand more about how the world works.

The new framework announced Wednesday includes both internal research and research that might be published for the world to see, though Schroepfer doesn’t describe in detail what the guidelines or the review policy might be.

Research Moving Forward

The company didn’t say anything about getting informed consent from users, one of the major criticisms of the Facebook study. While the company’s data use policy now states that users’ information might be used for research, it didn’t inform any of the 689,003 people in the emotional contagion study that their information would be used to figure out if posts make people happy or sad. And if people continue to agree to the data use policy, which few people even read, it appears that simply using Facebook is enough of a consent for future research. 

See also: Everyone’s A Lab Rat In OkCupid’s Labyrinth Of Love

Although the research had plenty of critics, a handful of people came out in support of the experiments Facebook was running, including dating site OkCupid and venture capitalist and Facebook board of directors member Marc Andreessen

Shortly after Facebook’s research was released, OkCupid published its own study, in which it described the way the company manipulates potential matches in an effort to figure out how people date. Though the splashy claims of experiments were meant to support Facebook, OkCupid’s research was little more than A/B testing.

Companies regularly run experiments on users—it’s how they determine the best products, features and services to provide customers. And although Facebook says it will be more cautious in the future, the fact of the matter is, the only way to avoid being part of Facebook’s social experiments is to quit the site entirely

Lead photo by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos on Flickr

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Focus On User Group Uses Google Algorithm To Attack Map Pack

Yesterday a new anti-Google consortium called “Focus on the User” launched a website that cleverly uses Google’s own words and algorithm to make an argument against Google+ Local (map pack) search results. It also operates as a concrete proposal that might partly substitute for…



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SolarCity uses SEO to gain traffic after a site redesign – InternetRetailer.com

SolarCity uses SEO to gain traffic after a site redesign
InternetRetailer.com
SolarCity could not be reached for comment. It was unclear exactly how much the company paid to make sure its SEO remained strong after the redesign. “Migrations are costly because they require a great deal of effort across marketing and web

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Amazon’s Cloud Is So Pervasive, Even Apple Uses It

Amazon’s cloud service dominates the Internet so thoroughly that it’s scarcely worth noting new customers. Unless, that is, the customer in question is … Apple.

Tucked away in a Monday New York Times piece on the online-storage price wars lies this brief but interesting nugget (AWS is Amazon Web Services—i.e., Amazon’s cloud):

Apple’s iCloud storage service and other parts of Apple, along with operations at several large banks, run inside A.W.S., say people familiar with the service who spoke on the condition they not be named so they could sustain relations with the powerful cloud company.

You have to love the Timesian sourcing on that one, by the way, which at 24 words comes in five words longer than the actual information attributed to said people. Not to mention the possibly intentional ambiguity of which “powerful cloud company” these unnamed folks so desperately want to sustain relations with. (Both Amazon and Apple would qualify, depending on how literally you want to read this sentence.)

See also: Amazon’s Cloud Is The Fastest Growing Software Business In History

In any event, this revelation is intriguing in a couple of respects. It’s certainly not the first time Apple has used an outside company to provide Web services—see, for instance, Akamai, which delivers software, music and video downloaded from Apple’s website and the iTunes store.

But Apple is usually obsessed with micromanaging every aspect of its technology and services. So some of its users might be surprised to learn that they’re storing their backups and other personal data not on Apple servers, but on ones rented from Amazon. It’s not totally clear that anyone should care about that, but you never know.

Of course, iCloud is also in the midst of a big transition, as it preps new consumer-storage services as part of Mac OS X Yosemite and its CloudKit service designed to provide cloud storage for iOS apps. And Apple has been building out data centers at a furious pace, with the latest one slated to start up sometime this year in Prineville, Ore. (My former colleague Taylor Hatmaker snapped some photos of the construction for ReadWrite last year.) 

See also: Apple Is Taking On Amazon And Google With A Big Server Giveaway

So possibly Apple is just short on server capacity until Prineville spins up. Though it’s understandable why the company might not want to advertise its apparent dependence on Amazon at the moment, as the news runs slantwise to Apple’s notable—and heavily marketed—environmental push to run all its data centers on renewable power. (Amazon’s cloud scored 3 Fs and a D in the latest Greenpeace report on data-center energy use thanks to heavy reliance on power from coal, nuclear and natural gas.)

Apple’s PR team didn’t get back to me when I asked them about the company’s use of Amazon’s cloud. But the company didn’t exactly deny the NYT report:

Amazon would not comment on confidential customer agreements. An Apple spokesman noted that Apple had its own data centers in four locations jn the United States and said that “the vast majority” of data in services like iTunes, Maps and the App Store ran on its own computers. Apple uses other facilities as well, he said.

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Bing Uses Its Predictions Technology To Forecast 2014 World Cup Winners

To kick-off today’s 2014 FIFA World Cup, Bing has launched a number of features around the tournament, including using its Bing Predictions technology to forecast World Cup winners. “On the heels of our recent foray into predictions, where we forecasted which contestants were most…



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This Vending Machine Uses Arduino To Tweet-Shame Your Sweets

Editor’s note: This post was originally published by our partners at PopSugar Tech.

Meet the vending machine that tweet shames candy bar buyers. Would you think twice about your sweet treat if you knew that an automated dispensary would tell the world about it?

A UK-based group of creative crafters called Nottingham Hackspace has revamped its snack dispensary into a tweeting machine that keeps its members accountable for what they eat. After a successful pledge drive, the group was able to buy the vending machine off eBay. The hackers then enhanced the purchase with Arduino, an open source electronics prototyping platform.

Using Arduino, they’ve modified the cash payment system with a little reader onto which members tap their cards. The cards have a little RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip that wirelessly transmits who they are and how much money is on their card to the vending machine.

It also communicates with the Nottingham Hackspace server, Holly, who then tweets your candy bar purchase. We’re thinking that we’ll need to get one of those in our office.

Image courtesy of YouTube user Computerphile

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You Will Never Text and Drive Again After Watching This PSA

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The Many Uses of Backlink Analysis – Search Engine Journal

The Many Uses of Backlink Analysis
Search Engine Journal
This would also be a good time to look at any “bad” links you might want to possibly remove or disavow. Nearly every established site or sites with previous SEO work will likely have a few links worth removing. A backlink analysis will help you find

and more »

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The Many Uses of Backlink Analysis by @linkbuildingjon

Conducting a backlink analysis is the foundation of any link building campaign. There is so much information to be gained and a wide variety of uses for the data you uncover. If you aren’t sure how to start, check out the post I wrote a post a while back about how to conduct a backlink […]

Author information

Jon Ball

Jon Ball is CEO and co-owner at Page One Power. He is a research expert that specializes in the implementation of highly effective link building strategies for clients all over the world. He’s also an avid photographer. Page One Power is a link building firm that focuses on relevancy and transparency.

The post The Many Uses of Backlink Analysis by @linkbuildingjon appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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You’ll Laugh, Then Cry When You See the Simple Trick This Single Mom Uses to Beat Enterprise SEOs

Certainly there is much to learn from the likes of BuzzFeed and Upworthy, but what basic tenets should rule your quality assurance process? Here are four important things mid- to large-size companies should know about developing a content strategy.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

New UserStats Tool Uses Social Proof to Grow Conversions

UserStats.com recently hit the scene with a new tool that offers free to paid subscriptions for increasing a websites conversion through “social proof,” allowing websites to display users’ activity, downloads, visitors, purchases, and more.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

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