Facebook manipulated users’ moods in secret experiment

Posted: July 3, 2014 in Human Rights, News
Tags: , , ,

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There are on average 1,500 possible stories that could show up on users’ news feeds. Source: Getty Images

by Andrew Griffin
The Independent
Jun 29, 2014

Facebook manipulated the emotions of hundreds of thousands of its users, and found that they would pass on happy or sad emotions, it has said. The experiment, for which researchers did not gain specific consent, has provoked criticism from users with privacy and ethical concerns.

For one week in 2012, Facebook skewed nearly 700,000 users’ news feeds to either be happier or sadder than normal. The experiment found that after the experiment was over users tended to post positive or negative comments according to the skew that was given to their news feed.

Read more: Facebook responds to users’ outrage

The research has provoked distress because of the manipulation involved.

Studies of real world networks show that what the researchers call ‘emotional contagion’ can…

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