Meta collaborates with the Center for Open Sciences (COS). start a learning pilot program “welfare-related topics.” The app will apparently access our social media data, but on a voluntary basis, using what COS says is a “privacy-preserving” data set provided by Meta for the pilot program. The agency says research should help people understand “how different factors may or may not affect well-being” and spark productive conversations about how to help people thrive.
The specifics of the program remain opaque, but COS says it will use “new research processes” such as early enrollment and early peer review. The latter is important because it sends the proposed research questions to the interlocutors before they are presented to the participants. This should help eliminate bias and ensure that the questions are genuinely useful. The agency also says all results will be published, and “not just those that confirm a hypothesis or support a prevailing theory.” As for the actual investigation, Meta said Engadget that hasn’t started yet.
As for a completely unscientific study of the effects of social media, using it for even ten minutes turns any dopamine in my brain into swamps of sadness. The Neverending Story. You can be the same. It’s no secret that social media is basically a mental anxiety factory, and rightly so especially true for children and teenagers.
So why announce this partnership today of all days? It may be a coincidence, but the timing is funny. Meta is set to testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee this week failures to protect children online, Along with other social media giants like TikTok, Snap and X. However, it should be noted that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew are willing to participate in this statement. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, Discord CEO Jason Citron and X CEO Linda Yaccarino were to be formally invited.
However, Meta has a particularly bad track record when it comes to these things. After all, it’s your company 41 are being sued by the state for harming the mental health of its youngest users. The suit alleges that Meta knew its “addictive” features were bad for children and intentionally misled the public about the safety of its platform.
The unsealed documents of the suit allege that Meta actually “solicited and stalked” children under the age of 13. lied about how he managed the minors’ accounts when detected, it often fails to disable these accounts while continuing to collect data. This would be a brazen violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.
Another claim claims that the algorithms of Facebook and Instagram facilitating child sexual abuse, According to the complaint, Meta’s internal documents state that more than 100,000 children are being molested per day. Facebook’s “People You May Know” algorithm has been identified as the primary channel for connecting children with predators. The complaint alleges that Meta did nothing to stop the problem when concerned employees complained. Meta, for its part, maintains that the timing was coincidental and that the announcement was timed to coincide with the partnership’s effective date.
With all this in mind, it doesn’t really take a study to realize that the “well-being” of users is not the most important thing in the minds of social media executives. Still, if the app helps these companies move in the right direction, that’s certainly great. COS says the study will take two years and is still in the preliminary planning stages. We will have more information in the coming months. In the meantime, you can See CEO Zuckerberg and all Testify before Congress at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday.
Update, January 29, 2024, 7:40 PM ET: This story has been updated to include timing information from Meta and clarification on when the study will begin.