Every day, hundreds of thousands of people become unwitting subjects to big tech's testing whims.
A word here, a word there, maybe the change of a colour, or the layout of a product page, everything measured, recorded and collated to better serve the interests of brands trying to make you stay on their side, trying to sell you products you didn't know you needed, trying to influence you.
Experimentation is conducted without knowledge and certainly without consent - often at the detriment to the end-user. You.
Consider an experiment that StubHub, the ticket-resale company, ran to determine where best to notify users about its ticketing costs. Should it be up front about them from the moment you land on the page? Or surprise you at checkout? StubHub discovered, after experimenting, that hiding the fees until the last minute led to thirteen per cent more sales, plus tickets that were 5.73 per cent more expensive on average.
This behaviour is unlikely to change, in fact it's even desirable in many cases where testing can bring about positive change. But there's a desperate need for more transparency in big tech.
Consumers need to understand what they're being exposed to and what that testing is doing to them.