Tag Archives: Facebook

Our Untrustworthy Public Schools, Part 2: The Fool and the Indoctrinator

When Alex met Kendra...

When Alex met Kendra…

There are bad apples in every barrel, but no apple barrel should contain poison apples. When it comes to teachers, these two make me regard the entire barrel as a bad risk.

The Fool

At Summerville High School in Summerville, South Carolina, a teacher caused a 16-year-old student named Alex Stone to be arrested and suspended because he wrote a passage on his Facebook page, as part of an assignment, that described using a gun to kill a dinosaur. Never mind that dinosaurs are extinct: guns are real; the teacher, a hysteric, a child abuser and a fool, notified school officials, and the school notified the police. They in turn,  searched Alex’s  book bag and locker for the dinosaur murder weapon, and came up empty. Police said that when Stone was asked by school officials about the his post, he became “very irate” —as would I—and so they handcuffed and arrested him.

Look at the bright side: at least they didn’t shoot him. Then Stone was suspended for the rest of the week. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee

Unethical Website Of The Month: OKCupid…The First Corporate Fick!

cupid5af

The ignominy of mere Ethics Dunce status is too good for OKCupid CEO Christian Rudder and his online dating service, and Unethical Website of the Month doesn’t do it justice either. The online dating website has revealed itself as an ethics outlaw, and a smug one. It is lying to its customers,  toying with the lives of vulnerable people who trust it, and doesn’t see anything wrong with its conduct.

That qualifies OKCupid as a Corporate Fick, the first ever so-identified here. As stated in the blog glossary of terms and concepts, a fick is someone who openly and blatantly violates social norms of responsibility, honesty or fairness without shame or remorse. That description fits OKCupid to a fare-thee-well.

In case you missed the story, the website revealed—proudly, in fact—that it intentional set up users with bad dates, or mismatched by its own compatibility formulas, to see how people would behave. The uproar over Facebook’s undisclosed manipulation of users’ moods prompted the disclosure.Facebook’s experiment violated research ethics standards, and the company was misrepresenting both law and ethics when it claimed that they had Facebook user’s consent to use them as cyber lab rats. That was bad. This is infinitely worse. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Love, Marketing and Advertising, Research and Scholarship, Romance and Relationships, Science & Technology, The Internet, Unethical Websites

Ethics Strike Three And Four Against Facebook In Its Creepy Mood Manipulation Study

Facebook is so out.

"Meh. Look at this neat picture of my dog!"

“Meh. Look at this neat picture of my dog!”

Ethics Strike One was the research itself, using its own, trusting users as guinea pigs in a mad scientist experiment to determine whether their moods could be manipulated by secretly managing the kind of posts they read from Facebook friends.

Ethics Strike Two was the lack of its subjects informed consent for the study, violating the basic standards of human subject research. A boilerplate user agreement that makes a vague reference to using data for “research” in no way meets the requirements of informed consent for this kind of study.

This brings us to Ethics Strike Three.  In justifying the legality and ethics of the research, Facebook’s researchers explained that leave to perform such experiments was consistent with the user agreement (See Strike Two):  “[the experiment] 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.” As I pointed out above and in my previous post on this topic, this isn’t informed consent as the research field and various ethics codes define it. But even if it was, this statement is a lie. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Law & Law Enforcement, Research and Scholarship, Rights, Science & Technology, The Internet

Obnoxious, Offensive, And Unethical: Facebook “Research” Turning Users Into Guinea Pigs

guinea-pig

Facebook apparently has been manipulating the feeds that some users get to see in order to measure how it the content affects the tone of their own posts.

You can read about the research here; I’m not publicizing it, because the Facebook’s research is an abuse of users and their trust. I don’t mind them reading my posts, for they own the service, and the service is in their name. I assume they will use my data and content to make money, but I didn’t agree to allow them to manipulate me, or what I write, feel, or think. I’m also not especially optimistic about the uses the results of such research might be applied to.

The researchers claim that the research is ethical because a computer program scanned for words that were considered either “positive” or “negative,” but the Facebook content wasn’t actually read. Facebook  terms of service state that user data may be used “for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.”

Since Facebook users agree to the terms of service, the researchers argue that this constitutes “informed consent” for their experiment.

Wrong.

Also ridiculous.

Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Professions, Research and Scholarship, The Internet, U.S. Society

Scott Esk, The Tea Party, And Leon Festinger’s Warning

Ignore Leon at your peril, Republicans!

Ignore Leon at your peril, Republicans!

A Texas Republican, using my least favorite rationalization (#22. Comparative Virtue, or “It’s not the worst thing”)  to excuse the party’s intentionally insulting anti-gay platform, could argue, “Hey! At least we don’t want gays to be stoned to death!”

True. That would be the position of Tea Party candidate for the Oklahoma state Senate, Scott Esk.

In a Facebook exchange last year, Esk indeed endorsed, without espousing, killing gays:

“That [stoning gay people to death] goes against some parts of libertarianism, I realize, and I’m largely libertarian, but ignoring as a nation things that are worthy of death is very remiss…I never said I would author legislation to put homosexuals to death, but I didn’t have a problem with it.”

Contacted by Oklahoma magazine to clarify his remarks, Esk did indeed, saying:

 “That was done in the Old Testament under a law that came directly from God and in that time there it was totally just. It came directly from God. I have no plans to reinstitute that in Oklahoma law. I do have some very huge moral misgivings about those kinds of sins…I know what was done in the Old Testament and what was done back then was what’s just. … And I do stand for Biblical morality.”

Before going further, I have to give Esk integrity points for not claiming that he was taken out of context or misunderstood. He was honest, he accepted responsibility for his words, and he didn’t try to “walk back” his statement, as is the current fashion among all the Washington politicians we should not trust. His courage and candor are admirable.

If only he weren’t a hateful, ignorant fool. Continue reading

17 Comments

Filed under Character, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Marketing and Advertising, Religion and Philosophy, The Internet, U.S. Society

Ethics Dunces: The Republican Un-Tweeters

"Ha! They'll NEVER find it now!"

“Ha! They’ll NEVER find it now!”

Several Republican politicians leapt on the “Welcome Home Bowe!” bandwagon without bothering to a) learn the details and more importantly to them, sadly, b) gauge the reaction of their constituents, contributers and supporters.  Thus they tweeted praise for his release, perhaps echoing Obama’s designated liar Susan Rice’s unsupported assertion that he has served with honor, or evoking the Administration’s now discarded spin that he was a hero. When the transaction was revealed to be an utter botch by the Obama Administration (but I repeat myself), and the GOP officials realized that it would be partisan feeding time in the  shark tank, these brave public servants had neither the forthrightness to admit their errors, if errors they were, nor the courage to face the consequences.

Nor, unfortunately for them, the technological savvy to realize that trying to cover up what you put on the internet doesn’t work.

And makes you look like an untrustworthy sneak.

The Sunlight Foundation has a service called “Politwoops,” which collects elected officials’ tweets and makes them available if they are deleted in an effort to remove feet from mouths. It uncovered this, from Republican Senator Thad Cochran…

 

Bergdahl tweet2

and this, from GOP Congressman Jim Renacci… Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, The Internet, War and the Military

Ethics Quiz: The Sensitive Cop’s Facebook Confession

sensitive cop“If there was any time I despised wearing a police uniform, it was yesterday at the Capitol during the water rally. A girl I know who frequents the Capitol for environmental concerns looked at me and wanted me to participate with her in the event. I told her I have to remain unbiased while on duty at these events. She responded by saying, ‘You’re a person, aren’t you?’ That comment went straight through my heart!”

Thus did Douglas Day, a police officer at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, confess to Facebook friends his mixed emotions while doing his duty.

For this he was fired.

The day Day wrote his Facebook post, Capitol Police Lt. T.M. Johnson told him  that the post “shows no respect to the department, the uniform or the law enforcement community which he represents.”  About a week later, Sgt. A.E. Lanham Jr. wrote to Day that he “found the entire [Facebook] posting to be extremely offensive and shocking … This is just another episode of many incidents which show his bad attitude and lack of enthusiasm toward police work in general and toward our department in particular.”

Day was thunderstruck. “If they believed there was some sort of a violation I made, then why wasn’t it addressed? They never brought me in and never said anything to me,” Day said. “In 2½ years working there, I had no disciplinary action taken against me at any time. Nothing was ever written up and I received no reprimands.” So much for the “many incidents.” Continue reading

18 Comments

Filed under Character, Citizenship, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Public Service, Philanthropy, Charity, Quizzes, Rights, The Internet