Our Facebook News Feed contains a ton of stories and content from our friends, people whom we follow, Pages that we liked and so on. Depending on the type of posts being published by our friends and the people we follow, the content will range from interesting, to funny, to bizarre, to depressing.
However according to a recent paper published in PNAS, it turns out that Facebook might have been experimenting on us and manipulating our moods simply by messing about with our News Feed. Basically Facebook identified posts that might be considered positive and negative and separated them into those two categories.
Then for an entire week (which took place in 2012), they subjected 689,000 users to their experiment in which some of them will only see posts deemed negative, and the rest would see posts that are deemed positive. The experiment basically proved that emotions can be “contagious” and that those who read largely negative posts ended up with negative statuses of their own, and those who were subject to positive posts ended up posting positive status updates of their own.
It does seem a bit manipulative and in some ways even wrong, but apparently it is completely legal since we all pretty much agreed to be part of Facebook’s experiments when we accepted the website’s T&C. It’s an interesting study, but what do you guys make of it? Anyone else a little disturbed by this experiment?