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Does Facebook represent the real world?

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Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet, especially when it comes to Facebook and Twitter. Computer scientists Derek Ruths of McGill University and Jürgen Pfeffer of Carnegie Mellon University are warning that researchers need to think twice before drawing conclusions about human behavior from what people post on social media, WRCB reports.

The rise of social media has given researchers a quick and cheap way of mining information about what people are thinking and doing. But these massive data sets can be inherently biased, meaning the people found on such sites aren’t a representative sample of the general public.

Ruths and Pfeffer’s findings were published in the Nov. 28 issue of “Science” journal.

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