|Facebook Study Tampered with Your Mood
By: Jessica Cherok
Having a bad day? Turns out, Facebook may have purposely tried to make it even worse. In 2012, the social media giant manipulated the news feeds of about 700,000 people to gauge users’ emotional responses.
Some were shown more negative posts, others were shown more positive posts. Digital Pivot wrote about this experiment last week. The experiment itself is interesting, but the public’s response to being experimented on is even more compelling.
Many people found the idea that they were used as unwitting test subjects downright creepy. Others were outraged that the experiment even happened. Facebook, however, reserves the right to conduct research on its users as part of the Terms of Service. In response to backlash, Facebook's researcher, Adam Kramer said, "We carefully consider what research we do and have a strong internal review process," the spokesman said in a statement. "There is no unnecessary collection of people's data in connection with these research initiatives and all data is stored securely."
The social media site partnered with Cornell and the University of California to see how the tone of users' new feeds affected their overall moods. The study found that the more positive or negative a news feed was, the more positive or negative the user’s mood was, respectively.
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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