Angry about Facebook’s emotion experiment? The problem lies with you as much as Facebook | ZDNet

facebook makes you feel miserable
So Facebook has been tweaking its users’ news feeds to make them feel miserable. Why all the surprise? That company has been making me feel miserable for years.

If I sound like I’m being flippant, please forgive me – I’m really not. The outrage — some manufactured, some genuine — is not misplaced, but the shock that accompanied Facebook’s announcement of its recent psychological experiment most definitely is.

My only real puzzlement over this experiment is that Facebook chose to reveal it publicly, without realising the bad feeling it would generate among its users. For a company that prides itself on gathering every gatherable bit of data on its users to develop in-depth profiles of their lives, it spectacularly failed to guess that those users would be unimpressed by it deciding to alter their mood.

Details of the experiment, conducted with Cornell University researchers, emerged over the weekend. Facebook revealed that it had altered the content of nearly 700,000 users’ news feeds, deprioritising items of a particular emotional timbre — either happy or sad — over the course of a week to see what effect the changes would have on those users’ moods.

According to the study, it turns out we tend to keep in tune with our social environment. If we see our friends are happy, we feel the same too; if they’re having a bad day, it rubs off on how we feel as well.

via Angry about Facebook’s emotion experiment? The problem lies with you as much as Facebook | ZDNet.


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