Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Columbia University wants Facebook to allow temporary accounts for research

Facebook does not allow journalists to create “temporary research accounts” with constructed identities, The Washington Post reports

Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Center wants Facebook to change this policy, and allow journalists to test the system with “fake” identities to see how algorithms behave.  This might help find red flags in ways foreign elements could exploit and divide certain users.

But doing so violates terms of service, which allows only one account per person (although multiple pages are possible for professionals). In some cases prosecution could result (which was actually attempted in a case involving Myspace and cyberbullying by fake identities back in 2006).

I’ve even said that the “one account” rule might present a problem for doing fund raising properly.  For what I see as ethical reasons, I object to being asked to run other people’s fundraisers on my own page.  But I wouldn’t object to setting up new accounts for projects I would be committed to.

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