Reading about this study using Facebook data (original link) gave me some hope that we may see true insights from third party academics doing high integrity fieldwork on top of the Facebook data. My wish for Facebook is that it welcome such work, create parameters and ensure privacy, but allow researchers to really dig in. Much could be learned. The linked study is internal research, however.
“I think it will be transformative,” said Duncan Watts, a Yahoo research scientist who recently used Facebook to conclude that people often have inaccurate beliefs about the political convictions of their friends. “In sociology for the last 100 years, we’ve had the theory, but it hasn’t really been possible to test it, because so much of what is important to sociology is individuals interacting to produce” families, friendships and social groups.