Monday News: Facebook screws with its users, the Netherlands tests the resale of digital books, a new documentary on Amazon, and The Princess Bride gets Legoed
Facebook Doesn’t Understand The Fuss About Its Emotion Manipulation Study – So Facebook, which appears to have zero respect for its users privacy, has also been intentionally manipulating content by way of “experimentation,” relying on the Terms of Service to compensate for actual informed consent. Worse, two academic researchers from UCSF and Cornell analyzed the data and wrote up the paper for a publication called the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), an un-refereed journal that is nonetheless associated with the prestigious NAS. So many things wrong with this that it’s almost impossible to count, but there’s now a real concern that this experiment will serve as precedent for others like it – minus the public disclosure after the fact. A.V. Club initially broke the story, but I’ve used the Forbes piece because of all the updated information.
This weekend, the Internet discovered a study published earlier this month in an academic journal that recounted how a Facebook data scientist, along with two university researchers, turned 689,003 users’ New Feeds positive or negative to see if it would elate or depress them. The purpose was to find out if emotions are “contagious” on social networks. (They are, apparently.) The justification for subjecting unsuspecting users to the psychological mind game was that everyone who signs up for Facebook agrees to the site’s “Data Use Policy,” which has a little line about how your information could be used for “research.” –Forbes
The right to resell ebooks — major case looms in the Netherlands – Oh, this is interesting. Tom Kabinet, a retailer selling used digital books, is using a EU Court of Justice ruling from 2012 to justify its actions, while the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV), through its secretary general, Martijn David, is claiming threatening legal action and claiming that the retailer is “aiding piracy.” Although no court ruling on this issue is internationally binding, any legal consideration of this issue will likely affect how other countries approach the issue of reselling digital content.
On Tuesday this week, a local startup called Tom Kabinet opened the virtual doors on its secondhand ebook bookstore. At the moment, it is generally accepted that ebooks cannot be resold, as is the case with music, movies and other digital media.
However, Tom Kabinet is pointing to a 2012 ruling by Europe’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the case of UsedSoft v Oracle. That case was about reselling licenses for downloadable software, and the court ruled that – even when the software license explicitly forbids resale – the buyer should have the right to resell that licence, just as they would be allowed to resell a boxed software copy. –Gigaom
‘AMAZON RISING’ PREMIERES JUNE 29 – Advertised as an “insider’s look” at Amazon and Jeff Bezos, the documentary premiered last night. David Faber produced this 60-minute program, and there’s a summary and a link to different national schedules here.
With more than 240 million customers, Faber reports on this powerhouse that has upended publishing, retail, and cloud computing, is poised to disrupt the supermarket industry, and faces increasing scrutiny as it extends its reach ever further into the fabric of American life. –CNBC
Celebrate romance with detailed Lego versions of famous Princess Bride scenes – While I was reading the Facebook story on the A.V. Club website, I came across this gem. While not a complete antidote to the Facebook mess, it’s a happy combination of Legos and Princess Bride. Although not very romantic, the Fire Swamp re-creation might be my favorite. –A.V. Club