AG 401 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Numbers Game, Data Mining, The Dilemma

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14 Mar 2019
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NPR All Sides Module 4 Task 1
Does Facebook Really Work? People Question Effectiveness Of Ads
1. The dilemma with this story is that Facebook misleads businesses about how effective their
advertisement is. Facebook gets most of its money from ads and sells itself to reach a target
audience. Privacy concerns have come from users. Also, businesses must decide if its worth it.
Once you like a page, you might get an ad related to that which causes the problem of an
inaccurate target audience. Facebook can’t guarantee that these ads reach the target
audience and ads may not work.
2. A lawsuit was filed by InvestorVillage.com against Facebook. They set their target audience to
a specific demographic; targeting people with an income of 250k, college education, and an
interest of the stock market. However, people who hit like on anything were liking this ad and
40% of ad viewers were outside of their target market. Facebook says they can get the
preferred target audience at an 89% accuracy rate. However, Facebook says it can’t
guarantee that every ad will be effective. Ad Agencies say that all the data there is
immeasurable and no matter how much data there is, convincing people will be more than just
a numbers game.
3. I side with Facebook on this dilemma because they are clearly stating that they can’t
guarantee that every ad will be effective, but they have the correct tools to locate a target
market. I have seen ads on my feed that are things that I have a direct interest to but at the
same time ads that are to things I don’t have an interest in. Businesses should know the risks
that are present before deciding to take upon Facebooks services
Big Data Comes to College
1. Big data companies are tracking college student’s data, including their gpa, course schedule,
background and placing them into filters of "green," "yellow," or "red" light to determine if they will do
well in the course. This system has shown to improve students grades and raising their chances of
staying in college. However, there are some ethical concerns in this data mining process. Since there
have been studies conducted influencing people’s emotions, scientists and academics need to come
up with rules and procedures for gathering student data and manipulating student behavior. The
problem is that there are not many ethical considerations in this practice, this is a new problem in the
field of education research. Another big problem is placing students into stereotypes.
2. Who is on each side of this story? (not specific names but groups or organizations)
Scientists and Academics are on one side of the story compared to big companies like BlackBoard.
These scientists and academics are using this information to see how they could improve teaching,
keep students motivated, help students succeed, and learn about the process of learning. They are in
the process of creating rules for how this data will be interpreted. As of now, big companies can give
this data to professors who can use this to influence their perceptions on their students.
3.As a student, I am comfortable with programs like Course Signals to track various academic
information once proper ethical rules are created for interpreting the data. As of now, I would not like
my academic information to be collected because of professors not handling the information the right
way. While I was studying abroad, a professor used a program similar to this on Moodle and had
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