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23. 09. 2014

Zuckerberg's Experiment: How Facebook Secretly Manipulated Moods of 700,000 users

Facebook’s news feed is a platform where you can find many status updates, photos, videos from your friends being updated every minute. The company already knows where you study, where you work, who are your friends or where have you been recently, but no one would imagine that they would change our news feeds one day, with the purpose of ‘playing’ with our moods. A lot of people were surprised after learning that Facebook manipulated their emotions without their confirmation to be experimented.


The experiment

Now, we all know what exactly happened with more than 0.5 million Facebook users 2 years ago… In January 2012, professionals changed the news feeds of the users and it were they who decided which type of content would see every user when he/she logs on Facebook. Some people were shown some happy, fun and positive posts, while others were shown negative, disturbing and sadder information. After 2 weeks, the study pointed out, that by messing the news feeds of 700.000 users, the researchers could control the mood of the users. If they saw positive posts, they would probably post some positive ones too, and the vice versa. Sounds funny right? However not for the users themselves!

Would you be frustrated by ''being'' in such experiments?

A lot of people were frustrated and thought that Facebook did something illegal. However, the terms and conditions of Facebook allow researchers to make this type of experiments without telling about it to the users. Researchers say that the positive and negative posts were chosen by chance and they didn't analyse each individual post thoroughly.

The main purpose of this research was to improve the quality of services of Facebook and to make the content of Facebook relevant. It was done to find out how people react to positive and negative contents, different types of news and information from their friends or from the pages they follow.

What are you thoughts on this and similar experiences by social media websites or by the government? Please share your comments with us below.


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Artash Arakelyan
CEO at Incredo. 6 years experience in internet marketing and marketing obsessed. Always thinking of traveling in exotic countries and wishing I could eat couture cupcakes all day long. My birthday is on Dec 17 and yes I don't mind anonymous birthday gifts!
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