Facebook user manipulation experiment controversey

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Jun 30, 2014, 3:39:48 PM via Website

You may have read recently that Facebook conducted an experiment with some of their users to look into the effects of positive and negative posts. The purpose of the experiment was to understand the effects of "emotional" posts, and what effect they had on their Facebook friends.

Around 700K people had their newsfeeds manipulated so that they were either subjected to positive status updates, or negative status updates, so that their subsequent posts could be measured. Facebook wanted to see if there was any correlation between users posting negatively when others were posting negatively, and vice versa. The results did show that, over a seven day period, people posted more positively if others were posting positively, and posted more negatively if others did the same. Thus, Facebook can alter your mood.

Despite this being conducted in January 2012, and being completely legal (you sign up to be a Facebook lab rat the moment you accept the Terms of Agreement), some people have responded negatively to being unknowingly manipulated in this way.

What's your thoughts? Should Facebook have informed users about this? Have you lost trust in them?

— modified on Jun 30, 2014, 3:40:57 PM

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