The social network could also be a catalyst for military research, as research efforts would be driven by the data generated by the platform, said the author of a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
The social media platform would be a powerful tool to accelerate research into behavioral neuroscience, said lead author Richard Kriegel, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Information Science and Technology.
“A lot of what we’ve been doing on the Internet is driven by social media,” said Kriegels research associate David R. Smith, a professor in the department of computer science at Penn.
“But we have to be aware that when we go back to a lab and get a bunch of data, we might not be able to use that data to predict something about what’s going on with the brain.”
While Facebook is currently undergoing a massive redesign to become more mobile-friendly, R&B music and music-sharing services have become a mainstay of the company’s social networks, and the company has been expanding its advertising offerings to target young people.
Facebook has also been a key player in the battle over whether to legalize recreational marijuana use, which has drawn the ire of conservatives who have opposed the use of the drug.
Facebook users could use their social media accounts to promote the legalization campaign, Smith said, but would also be able use their accounts to spread misinformation that could harm the marijuana industry.
“Facebook could be the lynchpin for people making the decision to use marijuana,” he said.
“If Facebook becomes a lynch pin for people who are advocating for legalization, then you are going to have a lot of people who get in trouble,” Smith said.
The research also shows that Facebook could benefit military research in ways that could help the military by allowing for more rapid access to information, Krieges study found.
While the researchers noted that it’s impossible to predict how much information Facebook users will use to influence the public’s views on social issues, they said they believe the company could become a platform that can influence policy.
While Facebook could still be a major impediment to military research efforts, Smith added, it is possible that the company is already making efforts to promote research in the military.
“There are a lot more people on Facebook, and there are people on Twitter, than there are on Google or Facebook,” Smith explained.
The study also showed that people who use Facebook to report on a news story will often use Facebook’s news feeds to share the same story.
Kriegelman said the research found that the use patterns were similar across the political spectrum, and that Facebook users tend to be more liberal than those who use Google or Twitter.
The military could benefit from more accurate information on military spending, Krewel said, especially as the military is struggling to respond to the effects of climate change.
The military is facing the potential loss of millions of soldiers and civilian employees due to climate change, and social media platforms are providing information that could potentially help in the fight against climate change as well.