Thursday, July 03, 2014

Facebook Manipulated Your News Feed To Screw With Your Emotions

I've seen this a few times lately in some email subscriptions I have. Facebook conducted an experiment where they manipulated people's news feeds to see what effect it had on their emotions.

I guess they showed either mostly (or all) positive or negative posts and monitored the user's posts to see if the user responded emotionally.

The part that makes me laugh is this:

Even the Facebook data scientist who led the study is now questioning its value: “In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety,” Adam Kramer wrote on his Facebook page.” (HT Wall Street Journal.) Kramer also wrote: “The experiment in question was run in early 2012, and we have come a long way since then.”

Hah! Total bust.

If it creeps you out, remember, you did agree to their terms of service (so did I).  Remember, if you're given a service for free, you're not the customer. You're the product.

I was probably active on Facebook during that period. I always set my feed to "most recent", and I was going through the roller coaster of a dying bad marriage. So I have no idea if it affected me. I was mostly negative during that time anyway.
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