Critics say Celebrate Pride tool part of Facebook experiment

Rabat – Following the response of millions of users worldwide to Facebook’s new tool ‘Celebrate Pride’, critics say that the tool might be another one of Facebook’s psychological experiments on users.On Friday, Facebook launched ‘Celebrate Pride’, a new tool that allows users to apply a rainbow filter to their profile picture in celebration of the US Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide.While millions of users hailed Facebook’s initiative, some say that Facebook’s intentions were not noble, revealing that the new tool might have been a psychology test on the social network’s users. According to the Daily Mail, critics say Facebook is using it to monitor how views spread online.Facebook set up this tool to let people alter their profile picture, but the concern is that Facebook is able to get an unprecedented insight into how it can influence people, experts said.MIT network scientist Cesar Hidalgo said on Facebook,“This is probably a Facebook experiment. The question is, how long will it take for people to change their profile pictures back to normal.”While Hidalgo’s Facebook update was meant to be a joke, (see article by the Atlantic) online media, including the Daily Mail, took his joke out of context and reported that he is “accusing Facebook to be performing an experiment.”A Facebook spokesperson, on the other hand, denied these accusations, stressing that ‘’Celebrate Pride is not an experiment but rather something that enables people to show their support of the LGBTQ community on Facebook.’’“This is one Facebook study I want to be included in!” wrote Stacy Blasiola, a communications Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois, when she changed her profile.This is not the first time that Facebook has come under fire for allegedly performing experiments on users.A report in The Atlantic confirmed that in 2013 the company released a study in which it admitted to conducting research into how to influence users changed their profile picture to a red equals sign in support of gay marriage.

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