In a series of micro-experiments that it later analyzed with other experts, it found that people were more likely to get jobs through “weak ties,” especially in more digital industries.
“The findings suggest that some users had better access to job opportunities or a meaningful difference in access to job opportunities,” Michael Zimmer, an associate professor of computer science and the director of the Center for Data, Ethics and Society at Marquette University told NYT. “These are the kind of long-term consequences that need to be contemplated when we think of the ethics of engaging in this kind of big data research.”
The above illustrates how social media researchers have manipulated the content you see, for research purposes. But such manipulations may have long term impacts on users.
Similarly, Facebook’s Algorithm selected what job ads might be inserted into your news feed. I never saw a job ad on Facebook – even though I have college degrees in the 3 most sought after fields: Computer Science (B.S.) Software Engineering (M.S.) and Business Administration (MBA)
By manipulating the algorithm, FB presents – or hides – opportunities from potential job applicants. FB supported age and gender discrimination in job ads. FB even admitted to doing so.
You can read more posts about Facebook’s social media research here.