By Mikey Smith | Mirror
Users freaked out as the social network revealed they’d been messing with their news feeds to try and affect their emotional state
Hundreds of thousands of Facebook users were stunned to learn the social network had been manipulating their emotional state without their knowledge as part of a massive secret psychological experiment.
Scientists working for the social network made users into lab rats for a week in January 2012, to see if meddling with the posts they saw when they logged in would change their emotions.
The study found that by messing with the news feeds of 689,003 users, researchers could change the kind of status updates they’d make.
If they were shown more negative posts from friends, the users would make more negative status posts, and the other way around.
The research paper, released in the PNAS journal this week, reads: "emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness."
It’s not a huge change - just one-tenth of a percent difference - but that could mean hundreds of thousands of status updates a day.
Facebook’s terms and conditions, which all users agree to, allow them to carry out research of this kind without telling users they’re being experimented on.
The paper says the automated testing: "“was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research.”
Read the full article at: mirror.co.uk
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