Our Aversion to A/B Testing on Humans Is Dangerous
Research suggests that people have an irrational aversion to A/B tests, which could limit the extent to which important institutions like hospitals, legislatures, and corporations base their decisions on objective evidence.Photograph by Fernando Cortes / Shutterstock Facebook once teamed up with scientists at Cornell to conduct a now-infamous experiment on emotional contagion. Researchers randomly assigned […]
How Social Media Exploits Our Moral Emotions
The architecture of social media exploits our sense of right and wrong, reaping profit from the pleasure we feel in expressing righteous outrage.Photograph by Kitja Kitja / Shutterstock A few years ago, Justine Sacco, then the senior director of corporate communications at the holding company InterActiveCorp, tweeted about the nuisances of air-travel during a long, […]
Is Facebook Really Scarier Than Google?
On Twitter, in a thread that went viral, François Chollet, an A.I. software engineer at Google, argued, “Facebook is, in effect, in control of your political beliefs and your worldview.”Photograph by Joe Penniston / Flickr Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and C.E.O. of Facebook, admitted recently his company knew, in 2015, that the data firm Cambridge […]
Why Facebook Is the Junk Food of Socializing
Have you ever been walking in a dark alley and seen something that you thought was a crouching person, but it turned out to be a garbage bag or something similarly innocuous? Me too. Have you ever seen a person crouching in a dark alley and mistaken it for a garbage bag? Me neither. Why […]
Why We Love to Blame 2016
You may have noticed it by now: the—I guess I’ll call it an impulse—to anthropomorphize “2016.” It began gradually. First, we objectified it, likening it to a disturbing film, a force of nature, broken hardware. As Slate put it: In trying to wrap our heads around 2016’s all-reason-and-logic–defying onslaught of tragedy and absurdity, we objectified […]
Is Facebook Luring You Into Being Depressed?
Sociology: Social media encourages us to follow those we envy.