Facebook has come under fire before for manipulating the newsfeeds of its users without their knowledge, and now a Mother Jones report says the social network’s experiments may have significantly affected voter turnout in the 2012 elections
A study manipulated the news feeds of hundreds of thousands of Facebook users in an attempt to show that emotional responses can be affected by the behavior of our social connections, and many are outraged by what they see as an ethical lapse by the company in doing so
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday, Steve Jobs is still very much involved in the activities of Apple (s aapl), and in fact still provides most of the vision, direction, and general control of the company. The WSJ cites people “familiar with the matter” as the source of the information, but officially Apple is remaining silent, noting only that Steve still plans to return in June.
The source also says that Tim Cook, Apple’s COO and the man in control of the company while Jobs is away on medical leave, still runs the day-to-day operations of the computer and electronics manufacturer. Meanwhile, Jobs works on big picture items from home, like testing devices, product plans and key strategy. In fact, the WSJ maintains that he was instrumental in the recent iPhone OS 3.0 update, revealed last month.
That’s not the surprising news, though. According to their sources, Jobs is also hard at work developing a new device, one that’s been hinted at many times before. Yes, it’s the elusive Apple tablet that has fanbois basically salivating. The device, if real, will be sized larger than an iPod touch or an iPhone but smaller than a Macbook (something we’ve heard about before), and it does seem to agree with recent reports of Apple ordering a significant number of 10-inch touchscreens from Taiwan. Read More about WSJ Says Jobs Still in Control of Apple, But Should We Buy It?
While annoying, the tactic of offering your app for free for a limited time prior to making people pay for it at least has the nice benefit of allowing a number of customers to actually get the software without paying for it. App Store manipulation hit a new low, recently when someone went a step further: paying people for high review scores.
Yes, in a frightening new low for Apple’s iPhone software distribution system, Wired is reporting that the developer of Santa Live, a Christmas-themed application aimed at children, seems to have been offering $4 in exchange for every 5-star review posted by people who download the $1.99 app. Since the Santa Live folks would be losing money in the deal, the obvious goal is to fix the ratings to encourage unwitting downloaders to fork over real, non-reimbursed cash.
The offer was listed on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and has since been taken down. Luckily, a TUAW reader snagged the screenshot above to preserve evidence of the shady move. The Turk listing even describes a sneaky secret code system by which plant reviewers can identify themselves without drawing undue attention, by including an extended, five-period ellipsis (…..) somewhere in their review. Six of the 22 reviews for the app at the time of this writing contain the code.
Read More about Why Make a Good App When You Can Just Pay People to Say You Did?