When you buy food, you’re buying values: The values of the person who grows your food; the values of the person who transports it; and the values of the person who sells it to you. Ben Myers of 1000 Face Coffee in Athens, Georgia explains that consumers have values too. Consumers can shop according to their values by understanding certification initiatives like Fair Trade and Direct Trade.
Catching a glimpse of the puppet masters who play with the data trails we leave online is always disorienting. And yet there’s something new-level creepy about a recent study that shows Facebook manipulated what users saw when they logged into the site as a way to study how it would affect their moods. But why?
Psychologists do all kinds of mood research and behavior studies. What made this study, which quickly stirred outrage, feel so wrong? Even Susan Fiske, the professor of psychology at Princeton University who edited the study for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of America, had doubts when the research first crossed her desk. “I was concerned,” she told me in a phone interview, “until I queried the authors and they said their local institutional review board had approved it—and apparently on the grounds that Facebook apparently manipulates people’s News Feeds all the time… I understand why people have concerns. I think their beef is with Facebook, really, not the research.”