Exposing the Truth

January 17, 2011
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In the article “Every day we write the book” making data available for research off of Facebook is an active debate going on right now! The article talks about how the data on Facebook could be helpful for specific companies based on the criticism they receive on Facebook. Status updates that say things like “went to dinner at olive garden and the pasta wasn’t even all the way cooked!” can help companies know what they need to improve on. The author, Michael Agger, brings up the point that in today’s society, the way to get the data off Facebook is also a controversial topic. The researchers who want the data available on Facebook also had to consider how to respectfully choose what data to use and whether it is appropriate to use and what they have permission to use.
Data from any social networking site has potential to be useful to businesses as well as for personal use, but is it really the ethical thing to do? That is what is being asked: is it ethical, is it feasible and the benefits outweigh the cost. Facebook is advertised as a social networking site and the purpose any site similar to Facebook is to communicate with others over the internet about what is happening in a certain moment of life. That being said, Facebook is already carrying valuable information that is practically on the general public’s fingertips; Status updates can have too much information and other times are completely general, giving researchers plenty of information to work with.
The people who post things that should never be said, especially on Facebook where the whole world can see it, also have to reap the consequences. It wouldn’t be wrong for Facebook to allow data to be used by researchers after giving a fair and obvious warning that the data users post will be monitored and possibly used. With a warning such as that, it may also help cut down on inappropriate postings that users would think twice about before posting them.





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