Facebook ‘manipulated’ 700k users’ News Feeds during ‘psychology experiment,’ report says

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Facebook recently revealed it carried out a week-long experiment back in January 2012 on nearly 700,000 users to test the effects of positive and negative posts, according to a paper published by the PNAS journal.

The feeds belonged to 689,003 users of the English version of Facebook. The experiment was designed to determine “whether exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviors,” wrote a team of Facebook scientists.

Actual posts were not affected and could still be viewed from friends’ profiles. The experiment only changed what selected users saw in their News Feed, which is governed by a Facebook algorithm.

According to the study, there was one track for those receiving more positive posts and another for those who were exposed to more negative content from their friends.

The experiment’s results of the experiment showed emotion in posts is contagious. Those who saw positive content were more positive and less negative in their activity. The reverse was true for people tested with negative postings.

“When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.”

While users may not have been aware they were part of the experiment, Facebook was able to conduct the study because all users must agree to the social network’s terms and conditions. Those conditions include “internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.”

Read more: PNAS journal

 

13 comments

  • Jennifer

    My Personal Suggestion to ‘All Concerned’ would be… Wake Up, Smell the roses.. Temporarily Delete your account with these ‘Conmen’ ..UNTIL more info is made public..AND you can regain your Bearings!!!

  • Deb-Z

    SCARY. Who knows who Zuckerberg is connected to or associates with. Foreign governments or special lobbies? Does he have duel citizenship? What lists is he keeping? What information is he compiling and for who?

  • TdoGg

    Come on really?! Are you surprised! With an internet that was designed by the miltary, government owned, government lobbied, and filtered by the dept. of homeland security! Nothing has been secret, ever!

  • JB

    You mean to tell me that they did this without our consent! If we do not protest this then we are saying that this violation is okay.

  • gena

    They had our consent from the beginning,, when we signed up so anything u post can be seen internally even if its set to private

  • chase

    Nobody would have even known if they didnt come and tell. Who cares if they manipulated what you seen for a study. it changed absolutley nothing. Get yalls underwear out of a bun you conspiracy theorists. The government doesnt care what your doing as a person, only what society as a whole is doing. What would this list do if it fell in the wrong hands. I guess the perpetraitor could throw a dart at the list and look up someones profile. The terror that would cause is unbelieveable lol.

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