Facebook Manipulates News Feeds For Emotional Experiments

It shouldn’t surprise anyone by now that Facebook performs all kinds of experiments with their user’s information. For a week in 2012, though (January 11th-18th to be precise) they undertook a massive experiment with the News Feeds of 689,003 Facebook users. They wanted to see how their users responded to overwhelmingly positive stories vs. overwhelmingly negative stories. So here’s what they did: on some of those 689,003 News Feeds, they posted only positive stories; on the rest of the News Feeds, they only posted negative stories.

Through this experiment, they found that those who received the positive stories posted more positively. (Imagine that)! And the reverse was also true: those who got all the bad news posted a lot more negative status updates. (It’s easy to complain about everything in your life when everyone on Facebook is doing the same thing).

Facebook Manipulates Your News Feed For Emotional Experiments

You Never Know Just What Facebook Might Be Up To…

What did you think Facebook did with all of your status updates after they were replaced with newer ones? I’ll admit I never gave much thought to it, but I never imagined they’d be involved in an online psychological experiment without my knowledge. If you can remember feeling really happy or terribly depressed because of Facebook back in 2012, this experiment might be the culprit. After all, one can only handle so many negative things in a row without wanting to throw their computer out the window or deleting the app from their phone. (The latter might be the more mature option of the two, though it is also the less fun option).

What do you think about this? Does it surprise you? Does it anger you? Does it make you want to quit Facebook for good?

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