Facebook Inc NASDAQ:FB is not conducting any more experiments, including in the upcoming 2016 elections, after receiving criticism from the media over manipulating users’ data and personal information without their knowledge. This time there will be a same button for everyone or there will not be any.
Facebook experiments backfired
This suggests that there will be no source through which the company could know the extent to which it encouraged people to go and cast their vote. Simply put, this means that the social networking site can no longer innovate, says a former political scientist Gregory Freinstein via Venture Beat.
Last July, the company’s efforts backfired when it was thrashed by media for its newsfeed experiments. The Facebook data science team started the experiment with the idea to try and understand how positive and negative stories effected the way users interacted with the content and Facebook. Facebook Inc NASDAQ:FB spokesperson told Venture Beat that it had halted the experiments along with a massive study to analyze if the social network can drive voting numbers by encouraging younger users.
According to Freinstein, it was the most important academic study on the value of social media in the democracy to date. The social networking site succeeded in enhancing the turnout by 2.2%, which is quite significant by traditional election standards.
Why it is not experimenting?
Facebook Inc NASDAQ:FB undertook the initial experiments in the 2012 elections, but for the 2016 elections they are not. It will show the same button to every user, which means it will not know “if some messages are more effective than others. In other words, Facebook Inc NASDAQ:FB can no longer innovate,” says Freinstein.
Facebook Inc NASDAQ:FB has not provided any reason for not continuing to experiment, so Freinstein believes that the only reason the firm might be holding back from the experiment is that it is afraid of the press. It is not very difficult for the company to repeat what they did before, but after being criticized heavily by the media and being on the front page for several days last time, the firm is apparently not willing to risk the bad press
In the end, Freinstein wrote that the company’s decision is disappointing and that a “mission-driven company shouldn’t let the loudest critics control their decisions.”