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Monday, 30 June 2014 08:47

Facebook messed with your head

Written by Nick Farrell



Negative posts make you negative

For one week back in 2012, Facebook scientists conducted an experiment on the social notworking outfit’s customers. They altered what appeared on the News Feed of more than 600,000 users. One group got mostly positive items; the other got mostly negative items.

Scientists then monitored the posts of those people and found that they were more negative if they received the negative News Feed and more positive if they received positive items. We would have thought that the research confirms that Facebook is not above manipulating their customers without their consent but apparently it means a bit more,

According to New Scientist the results show that "emotional contagion" can happen online, not just face to face. We did wonder about the ethics of the research, after all if the Facebook boffins pushed all the right buttons they could have started a war. Apparently it was in the small print of the terms and conditions of Facebook that no one ever reads.

When users sign up for Facebook, they agree that their information may be used 'for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.' So if a Facebook scientist knocks on your door and demands your scrotum for testing your response to its new policy on breastfeeding you will know why.

Nick Farrell

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