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Thrillist | 04.27.16

How Facebook could rig the election

Robyn Caplan, Bonnie Tijerina

D&S researchers Robyn Caplan and Bonnie Tijerina were quoted in this Thrillist piece discussing Facebook’s capability in influencing elections.

“There’s a lack of training to really question ‘what are the implications of what I’m building,'” says Bonnie Tijerina, a researcher at Data & Society dedicated to tackling the social, cultural, and ethical issues around big data. “The Facebook [mood manipulation study] was big in getting people to stop and think, ‘Oh, we really do need to figure out how we handle this.'”

“Is it ethical to be experimenting on individuals, especially when you can show it has that effect, while these political events are taking place?” said Robyn Caplan, another researcher at Data & Society. “That there was a study that took place, which none of the users were aware of, that had a direct effect on both online and offline behavior, is incredibly problematic. When it comes to this stuff, there is no such thing as a politically neutral action.”

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