Facebook is in hot water after conducting a secret psych test of sorts. The social networking giant secretly tracked nearly 700,000 users, monitoring their actions on Facebook and gauging what stories in their newsfeed changed their mood. According to Windows IT Pro, Facebook chose to conduct their research in the background without letting users know what was going on. While this wasn’t meant to upset anyone, some wonder why this research wasn’t conducted in a more open platform — a quick survey, perhaps.
One of the study’s co-authors explained:
“The reason we did this research is because we care about the emotional impact of Facebook and the people that use our product. We were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook. [But] we didn’t clearly state our motivations.”
Facebook’s secret psych test has made users wonder if the site could eventually sway people’s opinions on things like Presidential candidates. According to the report, some wonder if Facebook could flex their muscle for nefarious purposes. Computer Weekly reports that the “secret” study was done back in 2012. The purpose of the study was to see how people reacted to positive and negative emotional contest posted by a users’ friends on the site.
“One test reduced users’ exposure to their friends’ ‘positive emotional content,’ resulting in fewer positive posts of their own. Another test reduced exposure to ‘negative emotional content,’ resulting in fewer negative posts by those selected for the test.”
So, what did the Facebook secret psych test achieve, anyway? Apparently, emotions expressed by other people that you are friends with on Facebook affect your own mood. The findings have been dubbed the first “massive-scale emotional contagion” ever on social media. In short, moods are contagious.
In case you didn’t already know that Facebook is a major source for drama and all things unnecessary, there is now proof. While Facebook was busy manipulated the sentiments of its users, and basically hand-picking what to show some users, you were probably having mood swings based on what statuses you read. And now, this has been confirmed, albeit behind your back.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, there has been some debate about what users agree to when they “sign” the TOS. Do users just “agree” to be manipulated by the site once they sign on to use it? Did Facebook’s secret psych test actually violate people’s rights? Sound off in the comments below.
[Photo courtesy of The Next Web]