If you have been following the news, you might have heard how Facebook had conducted a secret experiment on its users. The experiment, for those who are hearing about this for the first time, basically filtered posts in a user’s News Feed to either display positive or negative posts. The results found that negative posts could influence a user to end up posting something negative themselves, and the opposite is true with positive posts.
While the experiment was legal as it was covered in Facebook’s T&C that we all pretty much agreed to when we signed up, many users were unhappy that they were experimented on. Facebook has since spoken up on the matter to clarify the reasoning behind the experiment. In a post by Adam D.I. Kramer, the lead researcher for the experiment, the basic premise was that Facebook simply wanted to understand its users better.
Kramer writes, “We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out. At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook.” He also went on to state that Facebook did not hide any post, but rather deprioritized them so that they would not show up on some News Feeds, but could still be accessed directly if given the link.
He later adds, “The goal of all of our research at Facebook is to learn how to provide a better service. Having written and designed this experiment myself, I can tell you that our goal was never to upset anyone.” We guess the reason why some people are upset is because they are feeling manipulated, which wasn’t the intention to begin with, but what do you guys think? Was the research a valid one or a cause for concern?
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